Great Senatours:

GOD hath called you to action. Your time to hear is little, to read is lesse, therefore there is need that your own prayers be more fervent: and that the supplications of others for you be the more frequent, and they that have the honour and trust to preach before you, have the greater cause to deal uprightly, not as men-pleasers, nor handling the word of God deceitfully: but that your hearts may be affected, that the word may come not in the letter only but in the power, and by the manifestation of the truth, 2 Cor, 4 2. they may commend themselves (not to the eare or phansie) but to every mans conscience in the sight of God.

It is your wisdome and safety to abhor to be flattered, to love to be searched, Hezekiah like, to speak comfort­ably [Page]to all that teach the good knowledge of the Lord.2 Chro. 30 22. David, 1 Sam. 24 5. a Prince both pious and prudent, a man after Gods own heart, yet felt something in himself for which his heart smote him, and feared many other things, for which he cries to God, Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindenesse.

It is the usuall prudence of States, to be jealous, to fore-see every plot, to have an open ear to any that can discover the least probability of danger: and though this often raiseth needlesse fears, yet its safer to fear danger where it is not, then not to fore-see and prevent danger where it is.—God hath set watch men upon the walls of Jerusalem, and hath enjoyned them upon pain of death, that if they apprehend any danger coming, to blow the trumpet, and to give warning; and if any die for want of warning,Ezech 33.3, 6 he is taken away in his iniquity, yet his bloud will I require at the watchmans hand.

You are not ignorant of Satans devices, his many plots against you, be never ceaseth to be a tempter to all, but against you (mighty Worthies) his malice is most em­bittered and enraged: by you he hath been disposessed and drivan into the wildernesse:Mat 1 [...].43. he hath been wandring in dry places, seeking rest, but findes none,—till he can re­enter. His desire is to winnow you; if he can ruin you be knows he ruins the Kingdom, and all the Protestant party in Christendom with you: he that durst set on [Page]Christ in the dayes of his flesh, his malice is not now lesse to attempt, nor is your power greater to resist: he hath been hitherto tempting to overwhelme you with despair, to make your difficulty so great that your hands might be weakned from the worke,Neh. 6 9. but your God hath strength­ened you to admiration, God hath made you a wall of brasse: he hath thrust sore at you that yee might fall, but the Lord hath been your helper, & hath scattered all temptations of this kinde as the chaffe upon the mount­ains. Now he hath no way left but to alter his tempta­tions, to transforme himself into an Angel of light: he sees he cannot affright you, he will try to flatter you in­to self-admiration and self-confidence, and doubtlesse will do his utmost, since if he cannot scatter you by de­jection, to exalt you through abundance of revelations, and so secretly worke your ruin by presumption. To dis­cover and prevent this stratagem, was the earnest de­sire and endeavour of your humble servant in this Text and Sermon,Pr [...]v. 1.17. knowing that in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird. Now the great God of Heaven, and the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, that hath cho­sen you, and ever helped you hitherto, rebuke Satan, pluck you as precious brands out of this fire also, and tread Satan and all temptations under your feet, and put this double honour upon you in the sight of this Na­tion, and all the Kingdoms round about you, that the [Page]whole earth may break forth into singing and say, Here is that Parliament which adversity could not sinke and prosperity cannot swell: who are taught of their God, to be low in their own eyes, when God hath made them high in the eyes of others; who whiles they rule over others, are most exact and exemplary in bearing rule over their own selves, and whiles they rule over men, desire nothing more then to be just, ruling in the fear of God. This will be the crown of your triumphs, and will stop the mouths of all gainsayers, and set you upon that rock of eternity, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against you, and so confirm and establish you, that this Parliament shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in, the joy of ma­ny generations; which is the earnest prayer of him, who desires daily to be your remembrancer at the throne of grace, and who is

Your most humble servant, lesse then the least of all Saints, I. W.

The Danger of Greatnesse, OR, Vzziah his Exaltation and Destruction: IN A SERMON PREACHED Before the Right Honourable the LORDS and COMMONS assembled in PARLIAMENT, and the Reverend Assembly of DIVINES, in the Church of Martins in the Fields, the 14th day of Ja­nuary, 1645. being a speciall day of Humiliation set apart to seek God, for his direction in the setling of the great worke of Church-Government.

2 CHRON. 26.15, 16.

He was helped marvellously, till he was made strong, but, when he was made strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction.

WE are met here this day as they at Ahavah, to afflict our selves before God, to seek of him a right way for our selves and our little ones, Ezra 8.21. for the present and future generations. Like as a woman with childe, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, Isa. 26.17. and crieth out for pangs: so are we in the sight of our God this day. The childe hath been a long time at the birth (we begin to fear lest the wombe should be over-great with it) hitherto we have not had ability or wisedom to bring forth. The occasion is very sad, so is the text full of soul-melting expressions. The words, I read them not as a charge, but as a caution, they are a story, not a [Page 2] prophecy. A relation of a great man, a great Prince and Go­vernour in the Land of Judah, raised up to a miracle of eminen­cy, yet in his height is made low, his sun goes down at noon­day, and all the brightnesse of his glory sets under a dark cloud.

The tragaedy is very dolefull, but I hope it is acted, not now in acting; we read it as a thing done, not now in doing. The good Lord keep it as a story, not a prophecy: a story for us, not a story of us, that after generations may not rise up and write this sad Epitaph upon your tombes, Here lyes that Parliament, that was helped marvellously, till it was made strong, [...]t Men they were made strong, then, &c. The former part of the next all the inhabitants of the world may apply to you, the vision is plain in characters legible, the truth of it undeniable. God hath helped you marvellously, and out of weaknesse the Lord hath made you strong. For the later part, I say as Daniel, when he came to interpret the dream to Nebuchadnezzar, My Lord, let the dream be to them that hate you, Daniel 4.19. and the interpretation to your and the Lords enemies.

Right Honourable, and the Heads of all our Tribes, God hath called you forth from among your brethren, and hath set you on high to be Physicians of this bleeding state, this languishing dy­ing Church. You have need (as all Physicians have) to be well versed in that part which is called [...], before you come to that which is [...]: the way to cure distempers, is to know the maladies before the remedies: and when diseases have pro­ved complex and intricate, how have the later times adventured upon Anatomies, diffecting the dead; that they might preserve the living? I bring you this day to a sad Anatomy of a great man; give me leave to open how he rose, how he became great, how he fell so suddenly, so irrecoverably, what was his disease, how he took the surfet, how the disease was bred, fomented, and became insensible, till it proved fatall. A dolefull spectacle, but our God would have us learn by precedents as well as by rules, else had he never added so many examples to his precepts. And all these things are written for our learning, and they happened to them as types and ensamples to us, Rom. 15.4. and are recorded for our admonition, 1 Cor. 10.11, 12. upon whom the ends of the world are come, wherefore let him that thinks be standeth, take beed lest he fall.

In the words be en­treated to consider,
  • 1. The Person here recorded.
  • 2. The enlargements bestowed upon this person.
  • 3. His abuse of those enlargements.
  • 4. The miseries that fell upon him for that abuse.

1. The Person, set out to us by 1. His name here, Ʋzziah, he is also called Azariah, 2 King. 14.21. 15.1, 7. 2. By his des­cent and function. Descent very high, a flourishing branch from the royall root of David. His function very eminent: in a good land, over a people, which God had called out to himself to be his peculiar treasure. 3. His prosperity, higher then most of his predecessours: From the dayes of Jehoshaphat till the reign of Ʋzziah, the time had been very sad to the people, and destru­ct ve to the Princes, for sundry generations. You may read of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, a desperate Politician, that the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease, 2 Chron. 21.18, 19. that his bowels rotted out by reason of his sicknesse. Ahaziah his son had but a short reign, but one year, and then cut off by sudden death,2 Chron. 22.2. for coming to lorain King of Israel, he fell into the hands of Iohn the son of Nimshi who slew him. 2 Chron. 22.9. After him the house of Aba­ziah had no tower to keep the Kingdom. Athaliah his mother, rises up and destroyes all the seed royall of the house of Iudah. ver. 10 Her rise and reign was unnaturall, her death was sudden and vio­lent, being carried out of the honse of the Lord, Cap. 23.15. and slain by the souldiers. Ioash is miraculously preserved, and for a time exalt­ed greatly, but after his heart departed from the Lord, and his own servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own bed. After him Amaziah, a Prince of great abilities,Chap. 24.25. renowned a while for his victories, but revolting from God, there was a strange conspiracy against him in Ierusalem, and being fled from the City to Lachish for his life, the violence of the people was so great, that they sent to Lachish after him and slew him. Chap. 25.27.

It is wondred by Historians, how so many Kings of Iudah suc­cessively died so violently; and next to the hand of God, they as­cribe it to that errour in the Kings of Iudah, in too much affe­cting an arbitrary government. They delighted to have the law lye in their own bosomes; and having got great power into [Page 4]their hands, they employed it rather to the advantage of their own designes, then the procuring the peoples welfare, account­ing the highest honour of sovereignty, to consist rather in being feared, then in being loved: and when the Princes remembred not their bounds in ruling, the people forgot their limits in obey­ing. Thus presumptuous pollicy proved oppressive to the peo­ple, and in the end fatall to the Princes. The people embittered and enraged, lay violent hands upon their Rulers.

In these times of confusion,2 Chron. 26.1. the people of Iudah take Ʋzziah, a young Prince very hopefull, about 16 years old, and set him in the throne The government of Ʋzziah was happier then his progenitours, his victories far greater, and his reign far longer then any that ruled before, ver. 3 for he reigned 52 years in Ieru­salem.

If you aske his inward disposition towards God, which is the main particular worthy enquiry, whether he was an upright man fearing God, there interpreters vary, and the question is difficult. As Bedell answers the Apostat, demanding whether Henry 8th was a good Prince, 'tis a hard thing to be a good man, much more hard to be a good Prince. Or as the Roman Oratour, who being desired to declare his judgement, whether such a man was a good Citizen, replied, If I should not judge him good, of whom I have heard no ill, I should wrong the person. Yet when I consider how many things must concur to make one good, I should wrong goodnesse it self, if I should sleightly give that title to unknown persons: so here in this Ʋzziah.

The text alledged for both opinions, may seem somewhat du­bious. The result of all enquiries herein prove disputable, not cogently conclusive. His commendations are very great. 1. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, vers. 4. that is one great argument of goodnesse, not to please ourselves, not to doe that which seems good in our own eyes, but in those things that be crosse to our sinfull nature, and are repugnant to the course of a sinfull world, in these things to displease our selves, that we may please our God, is a great argument of integrity.

Secondly, It adds to his commendation, that he sought the Lord, vers. 5. and what course can you imagin better then to seek God? whom if we seek, we shall finde, and in finding whom, we shall [Page 5]surely finde all good desireable, all good whereof we are capable. His Saints are described frequently by this character, Psal. &c.

Yet on the other side, to all these commendations are added termes of diminution: Which leaves his integrity questionable: for though

First, he did that which was right in the sight of God mate­rially, yet it was but according to all that Amaziah his father had done; it is not said, as his father David, who was a man af­ter Gods own heart; but for Amaziah, the Scripture expresseth, he did what was right in the sight of God, ver. 4 but not with a perfect heart.

Secondly, he sought the Lord, a duty very good, if we seek him for himself, seek him to enjoy him, and place our happinesse in communion with him; Quaerebant Ie­sum, sed non propter Iesum, Glos. ordin. in John 6. and not seek him to serve our turns on him, as the Jews sought our Saviour for loaves, and worldlings for corn and wine. For Ʋzziah he sought the Lord, but its ad­ded, in the dayes of Zachariah, ver. 5 who had understanding in the vi­sions of God; which are like the expressions that God uses before of Ioash, Chap. 24.2. Who did right all the dayes of Iehojada, but after the death of good Iohojada, Ioashes revolt is evident, 2 Chron. 24.17.

Thirdly, Sin of apostacy of Ʋzziah seems to be intimated, ver. 5. While he sought the Lord he prospered. However it was, the Lord hath left his name under a darke cloud, he hath set him as a Beacon on a mountain, and an Ensigne upon an hill. As Jud­ges hang up notorious malefactours in chains, to be a terrour to all spectatours: so hath the Lord done with Ʋzziah, he hath his Epitaph writ with Gods own finger, and he cries to all that passe by the way, stand, and see, and remember, and consider, that you may learn, and fiar, and do no such thing. God doth not only gibbet his open adversaries; as its said of Doeg, the righteous shall see, and fear, and say, Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, &c. but the Lord records the lusts if his Saints, as well as the graces.

From the words thus opened, according to the four parts afore­mentioned, observe,

1. That men may do many things which are materially right [Page 6]in the sight of the Lord, and yet themselves either not be upright, or if they be upright for the main, yet in some particulars they may visibly decline from that uprightnesse.

2. Whiles person or people continue to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord, Gods usuall way is, to helps them won­derfully.

3. When God helps persons or people wonderfully till they be made strong, then it is the greatest danger of all, and an evil most common among men to be lifted up.

4. When sinfull creatures, after wonderfull deliverances, suffer themselves to be lifted up, then all their rise is but the fore-runner of ruin, their lifting up, is but for casting down, and the issue is this, it ends in their greater desolation. Thus they that have been choise instruments in the hands of God, the Lord may lay them aside, as despised broken vessels in whom his soul hath no pleasure to employ them any further: as Ʋzziah his heart was lifted up to his destruction.

Men may doe many things right materially in the sight of the Lord, Doct. 1 and yet themselves either may not be upright, or in parti­culars fall from their uprightnesse; in opening whereof consider two partienlars.

1.First part of the Doctr. cleared. They may not be upright, who do things that are material­ly right in the sight of the Lord. I adde materially right: The action for the substance of it abstracted and considered in it self, may be such as God commands, commends and rewards: but if we take an action formally with the Motives, Ends, and all other necessary circumstances required to make an act truly right, then it is certain, that where the tree is evil, it cannot bring forth good fruit. Augustin contrae Iulian. lib. 4. disputes the question large­ly of Iulian the Pelagian, proving that all vertues of Gentiles, and works of unbeleevers are but vices: that their chastity so much admired was not chast, because chastity hath in seal in the soul more then in the body.1. Fatear primo virtutem esse pudicitiam. 2. Omnes vir­tutes quae per sorpus operantur in anima habitare. 3. Infidelia ani [...]am fornicari à Deo no [...]potist negort. Ergo ant in anima [...] 1. How can that person be chast and free from spirituall fornication, whose minde goes a whoring from the Lord?

[Page 7] 2. Inlian objects the integrity of Fabritius; 2. Qul [...] corom qui se Christianes habert volunr (nisi Pelagiani, aut in ip [...] forte its solu [...]) justum dia­crit infidele [...], impiu [...] diabole mancipatum? Absit ut sit virtue vera in alique nisi sit justus, cum nemo justus sine fide. Hab. 2.4. Fabius, Scipio, Regulus, he answers, How can true justice be in them who are not just? How could they be just, and not have faith, when the just shall live by faith?

3. How can any thing be absolutely right; that aimes not at a right end?3. Nibit bonum nisi referatur ad sumwum bonum, & hoc po­test nemo nisi per Christum, cu­jus morte mers vincitur, cujus vulneribus natura natura sa­ratur. Nothing is for­mally good, that is not referred to the chiefest good.

4. Vertues and vices are distinguished, not by bare acts performed, but by ends intended; a co­vetous person abstains from revenging himself by Law, not our of love to mercy, but money,4. Virtutes ac vitijs non offi­cijs sed fraibai discernuntur. Of­firium est quod faciendum, finis est propter quod faciendum. lest the cost (after all contention) recovered, should not answer the charges in recovering.5. Possunt bona fieri non bene fatientrcus, subvenire pericli­tanti hoc malum, sed si amore gloriae bominis sit, non bene bo­num facit.

5. An ambitious person relieves the poor, rights the oppressed, this is good, but if it be to be seen of men, he doth that which is right, but not righ­teously.6. Ni [...] bonum bene nisi volunt as bonas volunt [...]s non est bona, que in alijs vet in seipsa, non in Deo gloriatur.

6. No right done righteously, unlesse the minde be right; but he is not right that desires more to glory in himself or creatures, then in the Lord.

The acts of the unregenerate in themselves nakedly consider­ed,Vid. Vossium. some of them may be right, yet their persons are not righ­teous; and their acts if compleatly considered, are extreamly in­compleat: either, 1. Swerving from the right rule, Col 2.23. Isa. 29.13. 2. Or not aiming at aright end, Gods glory. 1 Cor. 10.31. Mat. 5.16. Or, 3. Not proceeding from a good ground, sincerity of love. Rom. 13.10. 1 Tim. 1.5. Or, 4.Rom. 14.23. Heb. [...]1.6. Or not mixed with faith, and whatsoever i [...] not of faith is sin, and without faith it is impossible to please God. 5. Being void of faith and love, the act is carried to an end; that is either not good, or if good, its some particular good, not that good which is universall.

But though the h [...]art of men be not upright, yet they may do many things that in themselves are right. 1. Such acts as are commanded for the matter of them: 2. Such as whereby na­turall conscience any be quiet, Rom. 2.15. 3. Whereby Gods [Page 8]will in part is fulfilled, as the Assyrian did upon Ierusalem, 4.Isa. 10. Whereby other men may be benefited. 5. Whereby in the day of their account, though their souls be not saved, Minus Fabri­tius quam Cati­lina punietur, non quia iste bonus, sed quia ille magis ma­lus, minus impius Fa­britius quam Catilina, non veras virtutes habendo, sed à veris virtuti­bus non plurias ̄u deviando. Au­gust. ibid. yet their torments may be lessened: and so right, 6. As God in this life may acknowledge them to their praise, and reward them for their comfort. I need not spend time in examples, Ahab, 1 King. 21.29. humbles himself greatly, therefore evil defer­red. Iebu in a great zeal, destroyes the worship and worshipper [...] of Baal. God commends the act for good, in 2 King. 10.30.31. Thou hast done well in executing that which was right is mine eyes: But he condemns his heart to be bad. Ioash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet he and his Princes forsook the Lord, and served Idols, and so wrath came upon Iudah and Ierusulem, for this their trespasses.

Amaziah goes far in denying his own credit, disdeigning an arm of flesh, disbanding an hundred thousand mighty men of va­lour, at the voice of the Prophet,2 Chron. 24.2. & 18. chusing rather to adventure their anger, and the losse of his hundred talents, then to disobey the voice of his God.2 Chron. 25.6, 7. comp. with ver. 2. What externall act of a Prince could be more right? yet his heart was not upright: He did much, but not with a perfect beart.

Many a man, whose inward parts are very rottennesse, may fre­quent all ordinances, loving all outward priviledges, be very for­ward in any externall performance, represse sin in others, and be employed as an happy instrument to reform others, when his own heart abides to his dying day unregenerate.

If you ask the reason, how are rationall men carried to things right, and yet their hearts not upright? I answer.

1. Reason 1 From the strength of externall ordinances dispensed I [...]ash, all the dayes of Iehojada, 2 Chron. 24.6. is forward in reformation, his zeal more forward then the Prophets. Herod, under the Ministery of Iohn, Mark. 6.10. had his conscience overawed, did many things, and beard him gladly.

2. Reason 2 From common grace received, corruptions are o [...]t kepti [...] by restraining grace, when the heart is [...] grace, and lusts are not only restrained, but many common gifts and graces may be conferred. There [...] that go far towards the Kingdom of God, yet fall short of it; their mindes enlight [...]ed. [Page 9]and taste of the heavenly gift, be made partakers of the Holy Ghost, in the common works of it,Heb. 6.4, 5, 6. taste of the good word of God, and powers of the world to come, and yet all this while the heart continues false, and after, the relapse may prove so great, as that it is impossible for them to be renewed again unto repentance.

3. Reason 3 From naturall conscience, it may be awakened, and some­thing must be done to still those clamours, to allay those surges:Rom. 2.15. worst of men, scarce so bad, but may at some times do some good. Doeg. is detained before the Lord, by his vow: the wicked Jews, 1 Sam. 21.7. that made no conscience of killing the Lord of glory, yet say, it is not lawfull to put the price of bloud into the treasure: Mat. 27.6. that wic­ked strumpet, that meets the young man to allure him, said, I have peace-offerings with me, I have paid my vows this day, Prov. 7.14. therefore came I forth to meet thee. Therefore, saith she. What soul without the height of impudence could have drawn so pro­phane a conclusion from such pious premisses? as to infer, I have pacified the Lord, therefore I may be bolder to provoke him. Take heed of a seduced conscience, and do not rest in some outward common duties which the worst may perform, and be under power of Satan. Those lewd women which lay with the prophane sons of Eli, pretend sanctity,1 Sam. 2.22. and assembled them­selves at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, as if they desired to be servants of the Lord, when indeed they were Satans drudges.

4. Reason 4 From Satans connivence. It is not against his Kingdom, to let men do something that is right; their self-confidence hereby grows the higher, and his delusions prove the stronger: He permits all persons and Nations to have some Religion: he cares not who hath the mouth or the lips, so he possesseth the heart;Luk. 11.2 [...]. and whiles the strong man keeps the house all things are in peace.

5. Reason 5 From worldly concurrences. Nothing more sutable to car­nall ends at sometimes, then to do something that is right. Iohn is forward in that part of reformation which was destructive to Baal, it was the only way to secure him in his throne: but in the positive part he was found altogether defective, and from the sins of Ieroboam that made Israel to sin, 2 King. 10.31. did not he depart all his dayes. Its an easie thing to reform those evils, which if they stand [Page 10]up will keep us low, and till they be laid low, we cannot get up. In the dayes of Iosiah, the people were marvellously forward in the worke of reformation;1 Chro. 34.31. c. 35.18. they enter into solemn Covenant, keep the Passeover so religiously, that from the dayes of Samuel, there was no such Passeover; neither did all the Kings of Israel keep such a Passeover as Iosiah kept, and the Priests, and Levites, and all Iudah and Israel that were present; but no sooner was Iosiah dead, but all this reformation died with him. Yet sup­pose that Ʋzziah was upright, though the arguments used to prove it, be not cogent, yet his excellencies were so many, and his commendations from God so great, that most Interpreters incline to esteem this opinion to be not only more charitable, but also in nothing to be lesse probable in it self. If so: then you may observe;

That its possible for men in the main to be upright, Here observe this second particular. yet in ma­ny particulars they may decline from their uprightnesse, though in the truly regenerate there can be no intercision of grace, which is totall, because they are born of th [...] immortall seed of the word, 1 Ioh. 3.9. and that seed abideth in them: nor finally, because God hath promised to give them such an heart, as they shall not so depart from him, Ier. 32.40. 1 Pet. 1.5. 1 Ioh. 4.4. and they are kept through the power of God unto salva­tion: Greater is he that is in them, then he that is in the world: and those speciall gifts of grace, when men are effectually called of God according to his purpose, Rom. 11.19. they are without repentance on Gods part, who doth bestrow them, and on the sinners part that doth receive them;2 Cor. 7.10. for repentance unto salvation is never to be repented of, because the soul of a poor sinner that is converted to Christ, findes more good in Christ transcendently above all that it was possible for a man in a state of nature to imagin. But upright men, though they cannot fall away either totally or fi­nally, yet they may decline in many particulars really, visibly; so far as that in respect of gifts and graces, and in respect of use and service to others, and of comforts to themselves, it may not be with them as in former times: their sun may go down at noon, and their lamp, to the eye of men, may be put out in obscure darknesse. Asa that mighty Prince, both good and great, of whom the Lord gives this testimony, though the high-places were not removed,2 King. 15.14. neverthelesse As [...]s heart was perfect with [Page 11]the Lord all his dayes, yet this Asa sinneth,2 Chron. 16.3. ver. 7. in hiring Benhadad the King of Syria, to break his league with Baasha, in not rely­ing upon the Lord, in not hearkning to the admonition of Ha­naniah: When he had thus sinned, he could not endure to be re­proved, a very sad distemper, that a good man should be so far transported with lusts,ver. 10. that he had rather undergo the disease that would kill him, then endure the medicine that would heal him: Asa was wroth with the Seer, and put him in the prison-house. for he was in a great rage, not at his own sin, but at the reproof of the Prophet: At that time also Asa oppressed some of the people. When corruptions are swelled so high that they cannot endure admonition, there is no possibility left to keep them within any bounds of moderation. And to all these sad declinings, there is added in the close, when he was upon his death-bed,ver. 12. when his disease in his feet was very great, yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the Physician.

If men may go so far in doing things that are right, Ʋse 1 when themselves all that while are not upright: then

1.Mution dix­tram suam li­bens in are re­liquit. O subli­mit as animi I Regul [...] ne unus pro multis vi­veret, toto cor­pore cruces pa­titur. O virum fortem & in captivitate victorem! Ter­tul. Apol. 2 Cor. 11.14, 15. Let every man be ashamed to fall short of that which men have attained to that want uprightnesse, let not Pagans outstrip Christians. Shall a Mutius be more couragious, a Regulus more faithfull among them that are without, then a seeming Cephas or Apollo among them that are within? shall an Ahab humble himself greatly, a Iehn reform abuses of worship stre­nuously, shall an Herod do many things at the preaching of Iohn Baptist, shall Satan and his messengers transform themselves into Angels of light, and shall the children of the light lye co­vered under obscure darknesse? Shall a generation of men that knew not God, that were strangers from the Covenant of grace, that never called upon God, shall opposers go beyond profes­sours? and they that could not endure so much as the form of godlinesse, shall they do things more justly, lesse partially, then those that professe the power of it? Surely our light is clearer, our rule is purer, our Master whom we serve is better, our hopes are higher, the rewards we expect are greater: shall we only in our lives be worse, when in all other priviledges we are better? What condition can be more sad,Ezek. 16.24. then that Judah should be guilty of more abominations then Sodom and Samaria? and [Page 12]what sentence more just,Mat. 12.21, 22. then that God should make Nineveh rise up and condemn this generation, and should pronounce that dreadfull saying;Mat. 11.22, 24. It shall be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah, for Tyre and Sydon in the day of judgement then for you?

2. As we should not come short of them that have done righ­teous things, when themselves have been unrighteous: So we should never content our selves with any common grace recei­ved, with any externall act performed, till the Lord by an inward spirituall change hath carried us into a state beyond a reprobate: thus far a reprobate may go. Let not thy soul stay here, do you not all expect distinguishing comforts when you dye? Why to you not seek distinguishing graces while you live? Will a righteous God sever thee from the wicked in thy death, when thou art not at all severed from the wicked in thy life? It was a wise resolution of that great Prince,Three things considerable in man; [...], there three have severall delights; [...] & [...] An­tooin. Pius, l. 3, 2, [...]4. sirnamed Pius, If my de­lights be only those of sense and pleasure, these are common to brute beasts, whose sensitive comforts may be greater, because their senses are stronger; if my delight be only to fulfill the will of the flesh and of the minde, and to do whatever seems good to an eye of carnall sense and reason, this is common to men, with Phalaris, and Nero, and the like, who were rather monsters then men. If in duties of an higher nature, I only minde those that are plausible to the world, this is no more then they may do who deny God, will betray their Countrey when it may be for their credit and advantage, and like them who when the doors were shut, and the curtains drawn, account nothing filthy or unlawfull that is delightfull: if all these things be common to the good and to the bad, surely there is something that is peculiar to the good; As to enjoy comforts moderately, to endure discomforts patient­ly, to keep a contented quiet minde within in the midst of all the storms without, in life to overcome the fear of death, &c. Our Saviour leads us higher, bids us deny our selves, take up his crosse, and follow him, count all things but losse and dung to win Christ, and assures us, without these we cannot be his Disciples, that all perswasions to the contrary are meer presumptions, and in the issue will betray the soul into the hands of the King of ter­rours; for except your righteousnesse shall not only equall, but exceed the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees, Mat. 5.10. ye shall [Page 13]in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Rest not therefore in that which men may want, and be happy, which men may en­joy, and yet be miserable.

3. If men may do things that are right, and yet not be up­right, then let no man account himself, because he doth something that is right, that therefore he is righteous,Non minus sine sacramentis sal­vatus est latro, quaem cum sa­crament is con­demnatus est tu [...]as August. that you are heirs of life (because you dwell under living ordinances:) the Sacra­ments may be full of life to others, not to you; God who works by them, can also worke without them. God may use you as great and glorious instruments in his hands, and by you bring mighty, things to passe, and yet the heart be not at all renewed. God knows how to use foolish things wisely, weak things strongly, instruments that in themselves are bad, to ends very good. Jehn is employed to pull down Baal, and the house of Ahab that set Baal up. Many were used to build the Ark that saved others, and yet themselves perished in the waters.Isa. 10.5. ver. [...]. Assyria is the rod of Gods anger, yet he means not so, neither doth his heart thinke so, but it is in his heart (to set up himself, and to that end) to de­stroy and cut off Nations not a few; therefore the Lord resolves, as soon as ever he hath performed his whole worke upon Mount Zion, then he will burn this rod in the fire,ver. 12. and will punish the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. It is a great honour to preach to others, to shew to men the way of salvation. It is a transcendent eminency, for men to be raised up to save a dying Nation, a languishing Kingdome. But let not that be truly said of you, which was tauntingly spoke of Christ, He saved others, himself he cannot save. Let every soul take heed, as Paul, lest when I have preached to others, 1 Cor. 9.17. I my self may become a castaway: therefore rest not in this, that great victories are obtained, that the spirits begin to be made subject, but that your names are written in the book of life; Luk. 10.20. and make conscience not only to do things that are right, but to do those right things in your uprightnesse. To which end,

1. Let your hearts be spirituall, even in acts that are in them­selves but civil and temporall, a carnall man may perform du­ties that in themselves for the externall act are of a spirituall nature: but then his heart, and the grounds he goes upon are carnall. when the act is spirituall. But approve your hearts to [Page 14]God, not only to be spirituall in things spirituall, but to be spiritual­ly minded, in things that are temporall.

2. Though the acts be but naturall, yet even in these actions also let your ends be supernaturall. Let the act be good, and the ground you go upon, and the end you aim at be good, and let the good you aim at be the highest, the most universall good, that is the rule we are bid to walke by,1 Cor. 10.31. Whether you cat or drinke, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Approve your selves to that great God who sees in secret: Go on, doing and suffering, as seeing him who is invisible; knowing that in your actions to­wards men, you serve the Lord Christ: count no reward sufficient which is below Christ, that he may be all and in all.

4. If men may decline in many particulars from their upright­nesse, then take heed, stand fast in the faith, quit your selves like men, hold fast your integrity, be faithfull to the death, let no man take away your crown from you, lose not the things that you have wrought,1 Cor. 15.58. but be constant, immoveable, alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, knowing that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. No man was ever a loser by cleaving unto God; while Ʋzziah continues in his uprightnesse, Gods helps him wonderfully till he is made strong. And thus we come to the second part.

When people seek the Lord, Observ. 2 and continue to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord, Gods usuall way is to helpe them. Wonderfully. This is clear in the example of Ʋzziah, if you consider,

  • 1. The helpe it self.
  • 2. The Authour of that helpe.
  • 3. The Extent of this helpe from God, Wonderfully helped.

1. [...], Ioseph. l. 9.6.10. Consider the helpe it self, he was helped: no question but Ʋzziah was a Prince of great abilities, of a good disposition, of an active spirit: he had a working head, and a dextrous hand, so Historians describe him. There was in him a concurrence of these three eminent qualifications, that conduce to make governours eminently happy; the [...], a great Counsellour, Souldier, and in forwardnesse in Religion ex­emplary: yet in all these admirable atchievements recorded of him, he was not only an agent, but recipient. The great victories [Page 15]obteined, had not their rise from his own abilities within, but from the helpe afforded him from above. Hence by the way is hinted this conclusion, That all created abilities which are in­herent in us, are uneffectuall without assistance. Strength with­in is nothing, can do nothing, unlesse there be an influence of strongth from without. In spirituals this is evident:Phil. 1.13. 2 Cor 3 5. Prius est cogi­tare quam cre­dere, nemo credit ali­quid nisi pri­us cegitaverit esse credendum. Credere nila­liud est quam cum assensione cogitare. Aug. de praedest. l. 1. God works both will and deed. We are not sufficient of our selves to thinke one good thought, how much lesse able to beleeve. It's not possi­ble for a poor soul to move towards him, till moved by him, of his own we must give him. And in temporals, in the managing of all affairs private or publike, it's madnesse to rely upon an arm of flesh, for by mans own strength shall no man prevail. When we are left to our selves, the steps of strength are straitned, and our counsels cast us down. Man is an indigent creature when he is at the best, and no creuted excellency can be raised to a con­dition of independency, so that helped he must be if he bring migh­ty things to pasle.

2. Consider the Authour, he was helyed; by whom? though this be not expressed in the words of the text, yet it's strongly intimated here, and fully evidenced in the context, vers. 5. God made him to prosper, and vers. 7. God helped him against the Philistims, and against the Arabians, &c. He had the helpe of men, of means, a numerous Army, expert Commanders, a con­fluence of all externall concurrence to helpe him, yet even these, from the bounty of God affording, and all these insufficient to make him strong without Gods helpe assisting. No helpe, no assi­stance effectuall without divine concurrence. The worst of Princes have been forced to confesse it, if the Lord do not helpe, 2 King 6.27. whence shall I helpe thee, said that King of Israel to the woman that had boyled her own son for food in the famine of Samaria. The Saints triumph in this acknowledgement,Psal. 124.8. our helpe stand­eth in the Name of the Lord that made Heaven and earth. They disdeigned humane considences;Hos. 14 3. Ashur shall not save us, nor will we ride any more upon horses. In vain is salva­tion hoped for from the hils, or from the multitude of mount­ains, surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of his people. They keep their eye on God when they are in trouble, enduring because they see him that is invisible. My eyes are ever towards [Page 16]the Lord, for he hath plucked my feet out of the net, and there­fore ascribe their redemptions to him, when out of trouble.

3. [...] Consider the Extent of this helpe: helped marvellously till he was made strong. The word signifies, God wrought won­ders to helpe him. His way towards him was not usuall. But God with an high hand and stretched out arm wrought mar­vellously for Ʋzziah. If you enquire what wonders were those, consider,

1. When he was young, and tender, and weak, was it not a wonder, out of all that weaknesse to be made strong; and that after the slaughter of so many Princes, the Lord should reserve Ʋzziah to set him upon the throne of his father David?

2. When the people were in a great heat and height, and their hand had been very heavy upon the royall family, did not God helpe wonderfully to quench all those storms, and to establish the Kingdom is his hands?

3. Was it not the mighty worke of God, not only to over­power the hearts of the people at home, that they had an heart to submit, ver. 7. ver. 8. when power was in their hands to resist, but also that God should subdue all his enemies abroad? The Philistims, the Ara­bians, and the Ammonites gave gifts to Ʋzziah.

4. Consider the great honour God put upon him, that he was loved of his friends, feared by his enemies, honoured by the neu­ters, and his name spread far abroad to the entring in of Egypt, vers. 8.

5. God gave him a wise heart, to improve all those opportu­nities that were put into his hands. He fortified himself exceed­ingly: His victories far greater then any of the Kings of Iudals that lived before him from the time of David: His magnificent works equall (if not superiour) to any, from the dayes of Sol [...] ­mon: He built towers in Ierusalem at the Corner-gate, and at the Valley-gate, ver. 9. and at the turning of the wall. Besides all this, he had the art to use, as well as the happinesse to procure, in the grounds convenient for husbandry, he had plough-men: He had vine-dressers in the Mountains, in Carmel and in the Low-Countries, and in the plains he had cattel, and in other waste places, taken from the Arabians and Ammenites, in their select places fit for pasture: There he digged wells for water, and built [Page 17]towers to defend his servants in the desert, and to command those water courses, that none without his consent might make use of that dry land, whereby he got into his own hand the sole command of the waters, and of the countrey.

6. For Martiall exploits he was helped wonderfully to grow very famous. You may read of a vust Army. 1. Raised by him, to the number of three hundred thousand, seven thousand and five hundred fighting men. 2. This Army well disciplined, and train­ed under the command of mighty men of valour.ver. 15. There were to order this great Army, to the number of two thousand and six hundred Officers, ver. 12.3. This Army maintained and provi­ded for, for he prepared for them thorowout all the host, swords, and spears, and helmets, and besides, many rare inventions; for he made in Ierusalem engins invented by cunning men to be on the Towers and on the Bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withall, so that his name spread far abroad; thus when he sought the Lord he was no loser by it, he sought not in vain, for God helped him wonderfully till he was made strong. God hath not said to any person or Nation, that they shall seek his face in vain; God will not desert till he be deserted.2 Chron. 15. [...]. You may read the same in the example of Asa, of Jehu, and of many others, which makes the truth evident, that whiles a people seek the Lord, the Lords usuall way is (rather then they shall perish) to worke wonders, &c.

1. God helps wonderfully them that seek him, Reason 1 to magnifie his bounty, or that he may discover to the sons of men, his own so­vereignty, that those that will not see his hand in the works of creation, may feel his power in the acts of his providence. When God appears in his beauty to infatuate the counsels, wither the plots, confound the policies, and to blast all the choicest designes, and deepest contrivances of the ablest of men, when they thinke to carry all the world before them, then God ariseth, and in one moment undeeth all that which they have been doing and contri­ving for many years and ages. Thus is the world forced to con­fesse (what it is desirons to deny) that there is a God; 1. discern­ing,Prov. 11.4. Prov. 24.12. Psal. 58.11. Is 1.3 5.3. 2. considering, and 3. judging in the earth. Then shall the eyes of the blinde be opened, and the ears of the deaf be unstopped.

2. Those that seek to the Lord, God will helpe, Reason 2 that he may [Page 18]vindicate the truth and honour of his despised ordinances. A carnall heart snuffs at Gods service,Mat. 1.17. Mal. 3.14. sayes, its in vain to serve the Lord, and to Walke mournfully before the Lord of hosts. But while the world is scoffing, the Saints are mourning, and its a sword in their bones; to have their adversaries reproach them, say­ing, Where is your God? Psal. 42.10. what is become of your prayers? of your Iesus? But when the Lord looks down from the height of his sanctuary, to hear the groans of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed unto death. Psal. 101.17, 19. When he regards the prayer of the de­stitute, and despises not their supplication; then shall the world finde those contemned and scorned prayers of the Saints, to be as arrows sharpe in the hearts of the Lords enemies, Psal 45.5. and that all the wit of man cannot prevail over a people that weep and make supplication,Hos. 12.4. and prevail with God.

3. Reason 3 God helps wonderfully, to encourage poor sinners to come to him as their greatest strength. O thou that hearest prayers, unto thee shall all flesh come, Psal. 65.2. Though they be but flesh and not spirit, yet they wait upon him in their deepest difficulties, and God works wonderfully,Heb. 11.34. out of weaknesse to make them strong.

4. Reason 4 That they who will not seek to the Lord may be left with­out excuse, when God kindles a burning under all their glory, and sprinkles brimstone upon their habitations, when his judge­ments meet them in their way, and stare them in the very faces, yet God works wonderfully to crosse the designes, to stain the pride of their glory, to rescue his servants out of their hands, as fire-brands taken out of the common burning. When the Lord of hosts, who is the redeemer of his people, appears to be strong, and thorowly to plead the cause of his people, to give them rest, and to disquiet the Inhabitants of Babylon, to deliver the righ­teous out of trouble,Jer 50.34. and to bring the wicked into trouble in their stead. If under all this their uncircumcised hearts be not hum­bled, and they will not give glory to God in beleeving, they shall be broken as a tree, and the horn of his people shall be exalted, and the wicked shall see and be grieved, he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away, the desires of the wicked shall perish, and in­iquity shall stop her mouth for ever.

1. Ʋse 1 Beleeve this great truth, that the prosperity of persons, fa­milies and Kingdoms are in the hands of God, that promotion [Page 19]comes neither from the east nor from the west, but that it is God that sets up one, and pulls down another. The books of the Kings and Chronicles are recorded, that God himself hath left for States-men in especiall manner to peruse and ponder, the many and mighty changes in the state and polity of Israel and Iudah, came from an higher hand then the designes of men: In the whole story you shall finde all experience cleering this, that their whole state varied in its rise and fall, beauty and deformity, ac­cordingly as they came up, or fell off from the Lord. When they sought the Lord, God helped them Wonderfully, but when they deserted God, and resolved to carry all before them, by power and policy, they were soon brought low for their inquity. Psal. 106.43.

2. Ʋse 2 If others beleeve not this, do you acknowledge it: this day, (Right Honourable, and the heads of our Tribes) is this Scripture fulfilled in your eyes, you may see it, and cry out in admiration, surely God hath helped us Wonderfully, God hath rained down miracles of salvations, he hath wrought wonders for you.

1. In calling you together in the daies of our fears. Call but to minde the Wormwood and the gall, and let your soul still have them in remembrance. When the enemy was so high that they were above fear, and the people of the Lord so low that they were below hope, then you could not but say, this text is verified on you as truly as on Ʋzziah, God hath helped wonderfully.

2. God hath wrought wonders in keeping you together all this troublesome time, when there hath been a great dispersing and forsaking in the midst of the Land.

3. God hath kept you when others fell off from you.

4. God hath kept you together, when our sins (not to say, yours) have provoked the Lord every day to make you fall a­sunder, and when in some particulars, according to different light, your selves have been divided; yet for the main, God hath kept you together by a wonder of goodnesse, that so your division might not prove our confusion. God hath also kept you, and the Nation in you alive, our lives and safeties, and the life of our Na­tion have been bound up in yours. God hath wrought also won­ders every where for you, he hath helped you wonderfully in the North and in the West: He hath said to the North, Give up, and to the West, Keep not back. His deliverances have been clear vi­ctories, [Page 20]no longer disputable, but undoubted. Your friends cannot but admire, your enemies cannot but acknowledge, therefore 'tis your duty to beleeve it with the heart, and confesse it with the tongue, that the Lord hath helped wonderfully.

3. Ʋse 3 Be not you then weary in seeking God. You have not fought in vain, God hath not been to you a Wildernesse or a land of darknesse: had God set us to pull at a rock, that we should all our life long have been praying, crying, mourning, and we had never seen any return of our prayers, it had been our duty to have persevered seeking to our dying day; but when God hath so vi­sibly, and so wonderfully risen up, upon the supplication of his ser­vants, follow God with entreaties. When God intends to worke great redemptions, and to bring deliverances to perfection, then he hath said,Ier. 31.9. his people shall come with weeping, and with supplica­tion will I lead them.

If God hath helped you wonderfully, Ʋse 4 be you forward to helpe the Lord, even the Lord against the mighty. God hath begun first to afford his helpe to you, be you ready to draw out all your strength to helpe him: God commands it, and in all equity he may expect it. All parts of the Kingdom cry for your helpe, and the Church as a woman in travell cries out for your assistance. Look back and consider what great things God hath done, and aske your own hearts, what you have hitherto done for the name of your God, or what shall we render to the Lord for his great goodnesse? Lay out your selves for him, who hath spread out his great power for you, and be willing to decrease, that he may in­crease; let God be your strength, and your strong tower; ho­nour God with your strength, this will be a strong preservative against the venomous infection which surprised Ʋzziah, who when he was made strong, doted upon his highnesse, and his heart was lifted up to his own destruction.

Thus far you have seen this great Prince in his ascension,Third part. and in him a parallel of superlative goodnesse to wards you. The re­mainder is very sad, his sin and misery. Ʋzziah being made strong, his heart was lifted up, not in the wayes of the Lord, as it was said of good Icheshapha [...], 2 Chro. 17.5. for that is ever needfull to be lifted up in the Lord against all discouragements, but his heart was lift­ed up, swelled, grown great in the thoughts of his own worth. [Page 21]Oh tell is not in Gath, publish it not in the gates of Askelon. Yet his fall is recorded for our warning, [...] upon whom the ends of the world are come.

When good men are made strong, Observ. 3 then are they in most danger vainly in themselves to be lifted up. Look over all former par­ticulars. 1. Of Persons that have been greatest. Rehaba [...]m when he was establish'd in the Kingdom, had strengthened him­self to forsake the Lord, and all Israel with him. 2 Chron. 2.12, 21. 2 Chron. 2.25, 19. Amaziah when he had smisten the Ammonites, his heart was lifted up to boast. Nebuchadnezzar when God had used him as a great instru­ment, his heart was lifted up, and hardned through pride. 2.Dan. 5.20. As in Persons, so also in States and Nations. Assyria, Isa. 10.13. Tyre, Ezek. 28.2, 5, 17. thy heart was lifted up because of thy riches; and vers. 17. because of thy beauty: and in Egypt. 31 5, and 10.3. See this in the best of Saints in the dayes of their flesh: Hezekiah breaths after God in the time of his streits, and re­lapses from him in the time of his recovery. See what a difference in David, when in the cave in the wildernesse of Iudah, and when God had given him rest round about: he that enjoyed God so wonderfully at Gath, at Engedi, lost for a time that sweet com­munion with God at Hebron, and in Jerusalem. St Paul when ravished into Paradise, and faw that which no tongue can utter, yet prone to be lifted up with abundance of revelations, and therefore the admonitions of God are very frequent, Deut. 8.10, 12. Take beed when thou art full, lest thou forget the Lord; &c, and the supplications of Gods servants have been very servent to prevent that evil; Agur sees how much ado he hath to support his own disability, when he beggs,Pro. 30.7, 8, 9. Lord, give me neither rich­es nor poverty, lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Few men have lived, that have been able to master their comforts, but a worm hath bred in their Manna. If you aske the reason why these men who have not sunke under sorrows should miscarry under comforts.

1. Reason 1 From Satun: Shall I impute it to the tempter, who is very active at all times, he never stumbers nor sleeps, he sets on Christ in the wildernesse, no condition is exempted from his temptations. Afflictions are called temptations, so they are in themselves, and to the sense: but consolations also are temptations, and these [Page 22]though not so sensible, yet often prove more dangerous and fa­tall: These are the stronger, because more sistable and connaturall to our depraved disposition. When Satan tempts to despair, there is nothing to be seen but clouds and darknesse, fears, and streits, and a snare, and though all these set on you with greatest vi­olence, yet nature it self abhorrs, resists; the end propounded is not desireable, therefore these temptatios are lesse taking, be­cause lesse pleasing: but when the tempter mingles himself with our comforts, sits with us at our tables, insensibly alluring us to self-pleasing and self-admiring, this is a cup of sweet poison, so much the more deadly, because delightfull. 'Tis Angustin in his observation upon his preface to the 51. Psalm Multi res ad­versas timent, resprosper as non tment. Pericu­l, for est res prospera animo quam adversa corpori. Prius corrumpit res prospera, ut inveniat quod frangat res ad­versa And [...], &c. Sicut Pyratae qui mare na­vigijs infestāt, non tan ubi na ves eportu ex­euntes conspex­erint invadunt. Quid enim his fructus, si j chapham in­anem demer­gerent? sed ubi redierit onusi a sarcinis, tum demum omnem expediunt ar­tem. Chrisost. de veibo Isayae vidt, 'Dom, Hom 2. Chry­sostom gives this reason: Pyrates that rob by the sea, seldom set up­on ships that go out empty, but when then they have been abroad and return richly laden, then they use all art, and exercise all vi­olence to master both the vessel and the prize; so Satan insinuats himself into all our comforts, nay our graces, nay our duties, that when we thinke we are in the Haven, and the danger over, the danger then is greatest. How strongly doth he labour, how fre­quently doth he prevail, to make us forget humility because we have been humble.

2. Shall I say it is from the World that is deceitfull; If the world deceive so many when it is bitter, whom will it not delude if it were sweet?

1. The very change of conditions when it is sudden and great, cannot be without danger. Physicians observe in crasie bodies, that a sudden eucrasie is the foretunner of some discrasie, and they that write Politicks, observe, excesse of power is a great triall of mens abilities. And all the sons of men must confesse it a dif­ficulty for an unsteady paralyticall hand, to carry a full cup with evennesse; for those that have been full of fears, straits, to be ex­alted, Reason 2 to have a number of supplicants and suitours waiting on them,Magistratus ostendit virum the change is so great, that the hand had need be very steady that carries this full cup without spilling.

2. From the multitude of suitours or of flatterers: it is the un­happinesse of great men,I [...]lc v. 16. that others have them in admiration be­cause of advantage.

3. From the fewnesse of those that have accesse or courage to [Page 23]deal plainly; 'tis difficult for poor Ministers how to carry them­selves, to observe duely that distance God hath made, and not neg­lect that duty God requires.

It is observed by some of the Learned, that Solomon repent­ing, wonders how he fell so wonderfully; and that none of the Ministers about him would deal faithfully, to show him his dan­ger, and to recover him from that apostasie; in answer unto which he brings in the Wise man, excusing themselves for this neglect, that they looked upon Solomon, as one eminent transcend­ently in wisedom, and therefore might have a further reach then they apprehended, and one that did not stand in need of their ad­vice or counsell: Who, say they, is as the Wise men, and who knows the interpretation of a thing? Mr I.C. on Eccles. 8.1 4. or if they thought it not unneedfull, yet they apprehended it unsafe; for where the word of the King is, there is power; however, they conceived it their duty not to intermeddle, for who may say unto him, what dost thou?

3. Reason 3 Or is it from the just hand of the Lord, that he may either try the graces of his Saints, or discover their weaknesse, or teach them to understand wherein their great strength lies; thus God left Hezekiah, that he might know all that was in his own heart: 2 Chro. 32.31. and in Gods enemies it is from his just deserting of them, who have deserted the Lord, and have cast off the fear of the Almigh­ty, that their rottennesse may be discovered, the measure of their sins filled up, and their ruin hastened: that even in themselves, and in the sight of this world they may receive such recompence of their former errour as is meet, that others may learn and fear,Rom. 1.27. and see by experience, that he which is lifted up,Hab. 2.4. his soul is not upright in him.

4. Reason 4 But the main ground of all is from the vanity of our own spirits, the vermine that doth all this mischief lyes in our own bosom, conceal'd from our own eyes, as weeds lye hid in winter, till the warmth of the spring discovers them, as a snake half fro­zen to death, lay it between thy brests, now it begins to warm, and no sooner receives renewed life and strength, but it spits poi­son. The viper that was in the bundle of sticks that Paul ga­thered, whilst they are cold lyes undiscerned, but when they are laid on the fire,Act: 28.3. the viper comes out of the heat and fastens on [Page 24]Pauls hand, and he that had newly eseaped being drowned at sea, is now ready to be poisoned to death at land; What a bisn­nesse of spirit is in the sons of men, that know not how to endure evil, or to enjoy good? Have you not known some in a low con­dition, to how and scrape, lick the spirtle on the ground, crowck and bow, humble and debase themselves, hummour, honour, admite, adore them that have had power in their hands, that by seeming humility they might insinuate themselves into the favour of great ones, willing to be low in appearance, that they might rise; and no sooner have these men got up, but they have discoverened un­imagined insolency, like mad men got up to the top of a Tower with baggs full of stones, throw (without fear or wit) at every passenger; like the man possessed in th Gospel, who was so fierce that no man could binde him; Mark. 5.3. or like him of whom Job speaks, he riseth up, and when he is got on high, he draws the mighty with his power, Iob. 24.22. and his violence grows so boundlesse, that [...] man is sure of his life; And the Lord tells us, though it be given to him to be in safety, ver. 23. Whereen be resteth, yet Gods eyes are upon the waies of such men, they are exalied for a little while, but presently they are gone and brought low, they are taken out of the way as all other oppressours before them, and they are cut off as the topps of the ears of corn; thus their glory is swift as waters, and their portion is cursed in the earth, ver. 8. ver. 20. and wickednesse shall be broken as a tree.

1. This may inform us, Ʋse 1 that God looks not only at theactions of men, but at their dispositions; His eye is not only upon the hand, but upon the hearts of the sons of men; he looks not only upon the externall act, but upon the frame of the Spirit, and can declare to every man what is his thought. Ʋzziah mindes nor, regards not his own heart, but the Lord observes and takes no­tice, and tells us, that Ʋzziah his beart was lifted up. We have need then to study our own spirit, and commune with [...]ur own hearts, search, and try, and judge our selves, and intreat the Lord, who is the great searcher of hearts, that he would search us and try us, and if there be any way of wickednesse in us, that he would discover it to us, and lead us in the way everlasting.

2. Ʋse 2 This also may be for our humdiation, that we should be so prone to turn the goodnesse of God into wantonnesse, that we [Page 25]should be worst to God when God is best to us, that we know not, naturally, either how to be full or to be empty? what unknown abominations lye in our hearts undiscerned? a man cannot ima­gin or will beleeve that such a world of pride lies in his spirit, till the time of temptation draw it out. Elisha weeps over Hazael, [...] K [...]ng. 8.12. Hazael wonders that the man of God should weep, Why weeps my Lord? Elisha answers, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do to the children of Israel; their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their Women with childe: Hazael wonders at this Prophecie, cries out in detestation, But what is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? ver. 13. but these unhumane butcheries which would not enter into his head when he was low, yet both entred into his huart, and were ex­ecuted by his hand when God had made him strong, and had lift­ed him up.

This may be for exhortation, Ʋse 3 both

1. To long for that condition in Heaven, wherein we shall be lift up without pride, wherein we shall be most high and most humble, far above all corruptions and all temptations. The Angels that are on high,Heb. 1.14. are willing to be ministring spirits for the good of the Saints that are below; and the Saints that are now perfect in Heaven, high, and lifted up, throw themselves and their crowns down at the foot of the Lambe. Rev. 4.10.

2. In the mean time till we enter into this rest, let every one de­sire to see the plague of his own heart, 1 King. 8 38. 2 Cor. 11.3. 1 Cor. 7.29. and be jealous over himself with a godly jealousie, lest us Satan beguiled Eve through his subtilty, should also corrupt any of your mindes: The time is short, and therefore they that rejoyce, are to be as though they re­joyced not, and they that use this world as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away. The Psalmist observes,Psal. 49.20. that man being in honour continues not. Let no man presume on his own strength, and let not him that girds on his armour, be as he that puts it off. The conflict without is very great, but the sharp­est combate is with the pride of our own hearts within; if we conquer this enemy, Satan and all our actversaries can never con­quer us: if this prevail and enter in,Prov. 25.28. we shall be as a City with­out barrs and without gates.

Now we come to the misery of this abuse,Fourth part. his heart was lifted up: to what end or advantage alas? that swelling proved fatall, and the issue dreadfull, lifted up to his own destruction: The word is, [...] lifted up to corrupt or destroy: To destroy or corrupt, whom? Ad corrum­peadum. To corrupt himself, to destroy others, to hazard the ruin of the state: yet this sin of his was personall, and personall there­fore was the ruin, God spared the people, and suffers him to fall in his own transgression, his heart was lifted up to his own destru­ction. Hence observe.

When that strength is abused to pride, Observ. 4 which God affordeth to his service, that strength proveth to be the door of weaknesse, that lifting up and sudden rise, is but the forerunner of greater ruin. Prov. 16.18. [...] Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty minds before a fall; Such a confraction follows a heart thus lifted up, as shivers it all in pieces, and makes it to be a despised broken vessel. That pride will have a fall, is from common experience grown prover­biall. Those that are of the highest stature, and climb the high­est, their fall, their downfall is the greatest.Ecquit latre­ni scalant as­cendent [...] invi­det, unde post decrsum est praecipitandus? T. Cartw. in Prov. 16.18. [...]. No man envies a ma­lefactour going up the ladder, though exalted above all the stand­ers by, because his climbing up is to be cut off in a moment: See this in Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, weighed in the balance and found too light, Herod adored as a god, imme­diatly eaten up of worms. Nay, the Saints brought low when thus lifted up, David when his mountain seems to stand strong, then God hides his face and he is troubled: A mans pride will surely bring him low, though he have many friends and great sup­ports to hold him up.Chrysost. in Isatain. Chrysostom observes, that the heart of pride is never content to stay below at the bottom, but is ever clymbing up, and pride it self stands at the top of the ladder, with a mallet in his hand ready to strike the sinner down. And this is not only observable in persons, but in states and Kingdoms; of E­dom it is recorded,Obad. v 3. the pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clifts of the rocks, whose habitation is on high: Though thou exalt thy self at the Eagle, and though thou sattest thy nest among the starres, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord. And the like is recorded of Caldaa, Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah. Nay not only in persons and Nations, but if you ascend higher and enquire, what brought the Angels so low, that [Page 27] wherever they go they carry their hell with them. Their sin,Quocun (que) dae­mores volitant gebennau su [...]m portant. Preesse omni­bas, subesse nul­li. saith the Schoolmen, was, they would be over all, and under none; not contented to be advanced above every creature, unlesse ex­empted from the command of their creatour, their pride put them on to strive with God for sovereignty. The Ancients, both Greeks and Latin Fathers, ascribe the downfall of the Angels to this sinfull lifting up. [...]. Chry­sost, de vesio Isaiae, Hont. 3. Isa. 14.12. Nae eadem pec­cans cum d [...]a bolo eadem cum isto patiatur. Chrysostom observes other sins invade a fleshly nature only, but pride sets upon that nature which is in­corporeall and invisible, and cast down Beelzebub from Heaven, and turned the Angel to a devil, and made him to be a devil, that before was no devil; will you beleeve the Prophet Isay? and he admires, How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer son of the morning? for thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will be like to the most High. It may be, saith he, this testimony is not cogent and conclusive, because allegoricall: Then read Paul, who giving direction that young converts should not be ordain'd, 1 Tim. 3.6. saith, not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil, and lest that sin of pride which destroyed Angels, should be his ruin and condemnation. So Theophylact and Oceumenius, and Au­gustin handling this question, why Christ being God became man, gives this one reason among many others, Christ would not vanquish Satan with an act of power but of justice. 'Twas the desire of power, that made the Angels forego their love to ju­stice, and to leave their first habitation:Non antem diabolus poten­tiâ sed justitia Dei superantus fuit, non quod omnipotente potentior, sed quod diabolus amator poten­tiae, &c. Sic & homines eum tanto magis imitantur quantò magis neglectâ justitiâ potentiae student, ejus (que) vel a deptione laetantur, vel inflammantur cupiditate, &c. Vide Augustinum de Trinitate. lib. 13. cap. 13. And poor men herein drawn to imitate Satan, seeking rather to be great then good, and to graspe with power then to seek integrity; Satan destroyed himself and Adam with pride, Christ redeems his with humili­ty, who had lost themselves by their insolency. Secondly, Christ herein left us an example, never to seek to conquer Satan with power, but by integrity.

Hence its clear in all persons, good and evil, in all states and Nations, and in all kinde of beings spirituall or corporcall; If [Page 28]pride once get in, desolation cannot be kept out, all the world can never keep that man up, who never seeks to keep his own spi­rit low. Pride and unbelief are the two great sins that oppose the Almighty in all his attributes.Iames 4.6. 1 Pet. 5.5. Therefore the Lord resisteth the proud: he abhors all other sins, but he sets himself in battle aray, to cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and to humble every high look.

Pride is the forerunner of casting down, because it is an unruly evil.

1. Reason 1 It keeps within no bounds. 1. It is Tyrannicall. 2. Unsatia­ble; as it is said of the Assyrian, Hab. 2.5. he is a proud man, he keeps not at home, but enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death that can­not be satisfied. 3. Its envious. What made Saul to eye David, and what makes any mans eye evil? because Gods hand is good. And whence is it but from the pride of mans heart, that the Scri­pture saith (and that not in vain) that the heart of man lusteth unto envy? Iames 4.5. 4. It is Contentious, the grand incendiary that sets on fire Persons, and Families, and Nations, and Kingdoms, and it self is set on fire of hell; Prov. 23.10. only by pride cometh contention.

2. Reason 2 Pride doth not only carry the foul to all evil, but poisons every good, and perverts that which is right. 1. Ʋnfits the soul for every duty, willing that God should serve us, and yet unwil­ling to serve God. 2. It makes the soul unthankefull for every mercy: Hezekiah a good man, yet when he fell under this di­stemper, he forgot to return unto the Lord, according to the mer­cies he had received. 3. It stops the ear against all admonitions. Pride is a passion transporting the minde beyond reason, makes the soul uncounselable, and then leaves it miserable. Asa put the Prophet in prison. Joash remembers not the kindenesse of Jeho­jada, but slayes Zachariah his son, for speaking so plainly; Why transgresse ye the Commandments of the Lord that ye cannot prosper? 2 Chron. 21.20, 22. Amaziah is angry with the Prophet, askes him, Art thou made of the Kings counsell? 2 Chro. 25.16. forbear, why shouldest thou be smitten? The proud men say to the Seers, see not: therefore faith the Prophet,Isa. 30.10. Ier. 13.15. hear and give ear, be not proud, give glory to the Lord, before he cause darkenesse, and before your seet stumble upon the darke mountains. 4. It scorns all threats, even when it hears the words of the curse, it blesseth it self, and saith, I shall [Page 29]have peace, though I add drunkennesse to thirst. Deut. 29.19. Nebuchadnezzar his heart was lifted up, and hardned in pride, therefore he was de­posed from his Kingly throne, Dan. 5.20. and he was driven from the sons of men. Lastly, Pride warres against God, contends with the Al­mighty for sovereignty: other sins oppose some one attribute, this opposes all, setting wormes and rottennesse to contend with their Maker, therefore God abhors it, and God resists it, and in this world layes the proud creature low, which would lay the ho­nour of his creatour in the dust.

What was Ʋzziahs transgression? Quest. 1 He sinned (you say) great­ly, his heart was lifted up; but we would gladly know wherein; tell us plainly, do not fear to discover the whole minde of God, we stand all here this day befire the Lord, this day to us is a sha­dow of the great day of judgement, wherein we jointly appear to judge our selves that we may not be condemned with the world.

To this question the solution is not difficult, the vision is plain; Answ. his sin states every reader in the face; for the text is expresse, he went into the temple of the Lord, to burn incense on the altar of incense: And this sin was

1. Against a clear rule, in usurping that power, and ministra­tion which no way appertained to him, Levit. 16.

2. Many sins concurred in the bosom of this transgression: as first,

1. An inordinate desire of an undue eminency.

2. Ingratitude against the Lord, who had helped him marvel­lously, and against the Priests the servants of God, who had saved his grandfather Ioash from the conspiracy of Athaliah, who had preserved the seed Royall, and the lampe of the house of David from being utterly extinguished in that unnaturall destruction; who also taught the good knowledge of the Lord;2 Chro. 30.12. whose do­ctrine had a great influence upon the peope, to appease that great height and heat of spirit, which they had conceived against the former governours, that the people willingly submitted to him, nothing all his reign was attempted against him. Now for Ʋz­ziah, when he had got the hearts of the people, to rise up, and assay to cut the throats of the Priesthood, was an act of so great in­gratitude, as that (though man could do no more but lament [Page 30]under it) yet God did both abhor it and severely punish it.

3. It was arrogancy to attempt to break those ancient bounds of Gods own appointing: he had an admirable ability of using his other power well, and in the use thereof the blessing of God was upon him, and upon the Nation to a wonder: he now affects to have all administrations in his own hands, his shoulders he thinks fit for all burdens, power no where so well plac't as in himself, nothing can be now well done, in his apprehensions, unlesse he have a hand in the doing of it; he stretcheth out his hands so far and so wide, to catch at all, that the sinews crack and break asun­der, and now he that would comprehend all, is able to hold no­thing, and so striving to receive what he had not, he is no longer able to retain what he had.

4. It was pertinacy to persist in this designe against all coun­sels, desires and entreaties, he had got that power that none could controll, and now who shall say unto him, what dost thou? who­soever be pleased or displeased, he resolves his will shall not be crost, his distempers and his lusts shall be satisfied; it may be, he had this with his bloud, for both his father Amaziah, and his grandfather Joash died of this disease, could not endure the ad­monitions of the Prophets, but added pertinacy to iniquity, and so in three successive generations, was that sad proverbe verified, he that is often reproved and hardons his necke, Prov. 29.1. shall be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy.

5. Adde to all these aggravations his impiety against God, who had subdues his people under him, overaw'd the Nations round about him, set up his throne very high; Now, when God had freed him from the fear of man, for him to cast off the fear of God, was to despise the riches of Gods goodnesse and forbear­ance, Rom. 2.5. not remembring that the goodnesse of God leads to repent­ance, and so left him without excuse; this was his transgression.

But what was the destruction that the text speaks of? Quest. 2 we have seen his disease at large, we would know the manner of his death, it's said, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: was this destru­ction eternall?

There is indeed such a destruction abiding children of disobe­dience,Sol. the dread of which should make every presumptuous soul to tremble, and to flee from that wrath to come. But I thinke [Page 31]that this was not the portion of his cup. I conceive (and so do most Expositours) and Historians that write of him, that Ʋzziah was a good man, a good Prince, he is reputed by most to have been a Saint: but what have Saints such sins? Yes.1 Ioh. 1. ult. The holiest men in the world have a mixture of unholy lusts; the sins of the Saints are distastfull to God; he knows how to love their persons, and to loath their transgressions, and though he will not break his covenant, nor suffer his faithfullnesse to fail, yet he may, and often will visit their transgressions with a rod, Psal. 39.32, 33. and their iniqui­ties with stripes.

But if it was not eternall, what was then this destruction? was it temporall? All agree in this (and there is clear ground for it) just in the act of sin God meets the presumptuous sinner, the word of God could not melt him, and now the rod of the Lord breaks him, and many judgements meet together to cast him down, after this his sinfull lifting up.

First, Some observe, that first there was a great earthquake, there is some question amongst Learned men, whether it was at that very instant; but this is clear, that in the time of Ʋz­ziah, there was an earthquake very dreadfull, mentioned by the Prophet Amos and Zechary, Amos 1.1. Zech. 14.5. that they all fled before that earth­quake in the dayes of Ʋzziah King of Judah. And Iosephus is clear, that it was in this very moment of time, and the earth­quake was not only dreadfull to the people, but rent the rocks and mountains, especially in the place called Erobe, and half the mountain towards the West was torn in sunder, and rolled many furlongs towards the East, whereby the publike way was obstructed, and the Kings garden wholly covered.

Secondly, Some add another great wonder, that the top of the Temple was rent, and a glorious beam of the Sun was darted from Heaven upon the countenance of Ʋzziah, Inseph. Anti (que) Iudai. lib. 9. cap 11. Immifit illi in fronte hoc molo [...]. Chryso­stom in Esay­am. Hom. 3. whilst the Cen­ser was in his hand to burn incense.

Thirdly, But this is sure, God smote him with a leprosie, a sad and dreadfull disease, and this leprosie rose even in his fore-head: Some inquire, why in his fore-head? and they give this reason, that God would fill that face with shame that had been so shamelesse. His desire was after an inordinate excellency, and God plagues him with an extraordinary deformity.

Fourthly, Upon this he was set apart, laid aside, and dwelt in a severall house, being a Leper, taken away not only from the affairs of the Kingdom, but which was sadder, driven from the society of men,2 Chro 26.21. Comp 33. Lev. 46. and which was saddest of all, cut off from the house of his God.

Fifthly, He was never restored to his dying day, the text sayes expresly, he was a leper till the day of his death. Some inquire, why did not the Prophets pray for his recovery? for in his time lived Isay, Hosea, Amos &c. why did not they lift up their sup­plication unto the Lord for the healing of so sad a breach?Abulens in H. L. And it is answered, though the Prophets were desirous to pray, yet it is possible they were forbid, that there was a prohibition unto them, like unto that which was not long after unto Ieremiah, Pray not thou for this people, Ier. 7.16. neither lift up thy cry for them: or, They might pray, and yet God would not grant; for though the Lord be a God ever hearing the prayers of his servants, yet his hearing of requests is not alwaies by granting the things reque­sted; God may deny in mercy, and grant in fury; God can give meats to sinners for their lusts, but when the meat is in their mouths, the wrath of God comes upon them, and flayes the fattest of them: and God may deny in mercy: Moses prayes to enter in­to Canaan, and is denied, yet enters into the rest whereof Cana­an was but a type. Paul prayes thrice, that the messenger of Sa­tan, the thorn in the flesh might be removed; God answers, my strength is sufficient for thee, and my power is made perfect in weaknesse.

Sixthly, Some thinke that this very blow broke his heart, and that he never lifted up his head after this casting down; Iosephus sayes,Ioseph. he died [...], he that could not enjoy the good of comfort without swelling, was not notable to endure the evil of discomfort without fainting.

What is all this to us? Quest. 3 What if Ʋzziah transgressed very much against the Lord? and what if the Lord was sore displeased with him? Do you not thinke in your conscience that there is a great difference bewixt the state of the Church, then under Moses, and the state of the Church now in times of the Gospel? Were there not 1. many ordinances then, and 2. transgressions of those ordinances, & 3. punishments of God upon those transgressions? [Page 33]which are all now done away in Christ: Those divers worships and carnall ordinances, being imposed on the Jew, till the time of Refirmation, and that bringing in of a better hope; What is this to us? For answer hereunto,Sol. 1. May not this example cry to you, as the Church doth in the day of her calamity? Lament. 1.12. Is it nothing to you (all ye that passe by) behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow? Why is this precedent left upon record? All these things happened to them for ensamples, 1 Cor. 10.11. and they are writ for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 2. Consider he was a man, a professour, an eminent Go­vernour, honoured of the Lord, admired of the people, yet he transgressed very much; Chrysostome admites that a man so pious, a Prince so prudent, should so sadly miscarry; that he who had attained so many victories, caused all his enemies to flee or fall before him, now himself in the height of his eminency should fall and not be able to recover: [...],Quia potiur nihil hic esse debet dignum haefitatione. [...]. Ho­mo res ad pec­candum lubrica. Chrysostome. 1 Cor. 10.13. I wonder and stand amazed at it! But he answers himself, and that an­swer may be something to us. Surely, saith he, upon second thoughts, there is no such cause or wonder: Ʋzziah was wise and godly, yet he was a man; And what is man but a poor creature, dark and slippery? a thing prone to transgresse, and every mo­ment ready to run upon his own ruin. If he, because clothed with humane nature was subject to infirmities, consider your selves, that ye also are in the same body, not freed from this or any temptation that is common to men: and what man ever left to himself, was able to keep himself from any transgression? Wherefore (saith the Spirit) let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed left he fall.

We easily confesse we may transgresse; Quest. for what man is he that sins not? But yet if all these ordinances which then obliged the conscience, be not done away, and long since ceased, and if there be no such rule under the Gospel, then we can never sin this sin of Ʋzziah, nor consequently need we be afraid of his judgement, for surely where there is no law there can be no transgression. Is there any rule now in times of the Gospel? hath Christ left any rule in the word touching Government? Is there any platform yure divino? if there be, we would gladly see it; and if there be not, then is it not left unto Christian prudence?

They that say that every particular herein is so cleerly and so punctually determined, Answ. that nothing is left to Christian prudence, following the generall rules which Christ hath left his Church: They that hold this assertion, had need to have cleerer grounds, and more cogent arguments then yet have appeared to the best observation of many who have earnestly desired to see light here­in; and they that hold, that nothing at all is determined in times of the Gospel, how things should be ordered in the house of God, but that all things are left to humane prudence, seem to run upon an [...]our, equally as groundlesse and more dangerous: then the former.

In this great question, some things seem more clear, others more disputable; the things that are cleer, I mean, to sober spi­rits, for to men that are schepticks and resolv'd to employ the e­minency of their gifts, not in being humble beleevers, but rather to be among the high disputers of this world, as the Apostle saith, to the impure there is nothing pure, but mindes and consciences are defiled; so experience findes it true, that nothing is so cleer, but a wanton wit, and an unhumble heart will count it darke, or call it into question.

It times of the Gospel,Position 1. Jesus Christ hath appointed some, and not all to be Ministers, dispensers of his ordinances, stewards of the mysteries of Iesus Christ: 1 Cor. 12.28. For besides that common rule grounded on experience, that which is every mans worke usually proves no mans;Ephes. 4.8, 11. the word of God is expresse, God hath set some, not all in the Church to be teachers. Christ when he ascended up on high, gave peculiar gifts unto men, and he gave some, not all to be Pastours and teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the worke of the ministry, for the edifying of that body of Christ: and though these gifts and this calling be peculiar to some, and not all yet the benefit is to redound to all, v. 13. till we all come in that unity of faith, and of that knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man. Doth not that Scripture expresly distinguish be­tween those persons that are [...]ought in the ward, Gal. 6.6. and those who are teachers? betwixt the shepherds and the sheep? betwixt the Elders that feed the flock,1 Pet. 5.1, 2. and those that are to be fed by them? Was it the invention of man, or the institution of Jesus, that at Ephesus and Miletus, Acts 10.17. there should be Elders of that Church? [Page 35]who are commanded to take heed not only to themselves, as other Christians, but to all that flock whereof, not (only man) but the holy Ghost hath made them overseers, 1 Thes. 5.12. ver. 13. and to feed the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood? And if it be the command of the Gospel to all Saints, as the Apostle saith, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them highly for their worke sake, then it must needs be a sin against the Gospel, to revile and scorn those who labour in the word and doctrine, Heb. 13.7. whom God would have all beleevers to remember,1 Tim. 5.17. and to count worthy of double honour.

Those peculiar persons (who ever they be) that are dispensers of these misteries, must be call'd unto,Position 2. before they enter upon this worke; For no man takes this honour to himself, Heb. 5.4. but he that is call'd of God as Aaron was, and those whom God calls, must be persons qualified to this function. 1. They must be gifted of God, how can any conclude themselves to be sent of God, when they are not gifted of God? Are they fit to be Seers by office, and take oversight of the flock, who are altogether blinde in themselves? If the blinde lead the blinde, both fall into the ditch; and there­fore the Apostle observes, that Christ after his ascension gave gifts to men, and then he gave some to be Pastours and teachers.Ephes. 4.8, 11.

Secondly, These called ones must be willing to be set apart, and to lay out the gifts received, in this great imployment, to seed the flock of Christ, taking the over sight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready minde. 1 Pet. 5.2.

Thirdly, There gifts must be approved by men of judgement, and such as are fitted with ability and authority to judge: for if every man may be sole judge of his own gifts, or they that are not gifted themselves be judges of the gifts of others, then in a little time clerus Angliae, will be found to be stupor mundi, not in that sense wherein it was first meered, but in the worst sense that can be imagined; therefore we read, that when the Apostles had preached the Gospel at Derbe and Lystra, at Iconium and at Ar­tioch, confirming the souls of the Disciples, and lest that worke should die when they departed, before their departure they ap­point Ministers to lead them on to perfection; and they ordain­ed them Elders in every City, and prayed with fasting, Act 14.23. and com­mended [Page 36]them to the Lord, in whom they beleeved.

Those that are thus called & sent, have some peculiar charge and speciall trust committed to them, Position 3. to teach, exhort, &c. not only by way of fraternall charity, which is common to Christians as Chri­stians, to be teaching and admonishing one another,Col 3.18. 1 Pet 5.3. 2 Cor. 1.24. but in way of ministeriall authority; ministeriall, not as Lords over Gods heri­tage, or as such as have dominion over your faith, but as such as are helpers of your joy—Yet is this Ministery accompanied with a speciall peculiar authority, otherwise what is the meaning of those Scriptures? 1. Why are they called not heirs of salvation, which is the common, yet high priviledge of all Saints, but pecu­liarly the Ministers of Christ, 1 Cor. 4.1. 1 Tim. 3.5. 2 Pet. 5.2. Acts 20.28. stewards of the misteries of God? 2. Why are they said peculiarly to take eare of the Church of God, to take over-sight of the flock that the holy Ghost hath made them overseers? 3. Why are those speciall commands given to them, to feed the flock of God among them, to preach the word of God, 2 Tim. 4.2. 1 Tim. 5.20. to be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke with all long-suffering and doctrine, and yet with all authority too; and when men sin publikely and scandallously, to rebuke them before all, that others also may fear? 4. Why are such threats denounced if they neglect this charge, and in stead of feeding the flock, feed themselves? If this belong equally to all Christians, why should any one say more then another, Neces­sity is laid upon me, and wo is unto me if I preach not the Gospel; If I do this willingly I have a reward, 1 Cor. 9.16, 17. but if against my will— A dispensation is committed unto me? how can any one say, a di­spensation is committed to me, if no such peculiar dispensation be committed to any?1 Thes. 5.12. Heb. 13.7. 5. Why are there s [...] many rules given to Saints, how to carry themselves towards them? why are be­leevers enjoyn'd to know, to take speciall notice of them that la­bour amongst them, ver. 17. 1 Tim. 5.17. Gal. 6.6. to remember them that have the rule over them, to obey them and submit themselves unto them, to court them worthy of double honour, to communicate to them in all good things? 6. If no peculiar charge be committed to them more then to all professours, why are they enjoyned to watch over the souls of others, as those that must give an account? which has made the hearts of consciencious Ministers in all times to quake and tremble; for if he that offend one be in so sad a con­dition [Page 37]that it is better a millstone were hang'd about his head, and himself cast into the midsts of the sea; if so hard to watch over one, to give an account for one, Heb. 13 7. on how hard is it to give an ac­count for others? Surely if no peculiar care or charge be laid up­on the Ministers of the Gospel, then is the worke of the Ministry far easier then the best of men in all ages have imagined,—why was Basil so unwilling to undertake that function?

All those fears, sorrows, that invaded the heart of Chrysostome, Vid. Chrysom. [...] Vid. Chrysom. [...]. lib. 6. whereby his body was weakned, and his minde overwhelmed, that he stood for a long time as a man astonished, that could nei­ther hear, nor set, nor speak, and when he recovered himself, he wept abundantly, powred out his soul in tears.

Suppose we beleeve all this, for herein God hath made this vi­sion plain, and these are not the particulars that seem doubtfull, wherein we are met this day to seek direction of the Lord: We ea­sily grant that a speciall dispensation is committed to the Mini­stres: But the question is, What those great peculiarities are which Jesus Christ hath committed unto them in the times of the Go­spel, which God would have kept distinct?

Whether is it the minde of Jesus Christ in the times of the Go­spel,1 Quaere. that Ministers should intermeddle with civil affairs belong­ing to the Magistrate, as the Levites and Priests were ap­pointed of old to be judges, and to determine of controversi [...]? Are not the Ministers now bound (more then the Levites then were) to give attendance to reading, 1 Tim. 4.13. to the studying of the Scri­ptures, as well as to preach [...] and to give themselves to exhorta­tion and doctrine? [...]. The­ophylactus. Timothy 1. [...], in his [...]o. If Timothy so charged, why not others whose gifts are weaker? Are they not commanded to give themselves wholly to these things, meditation them, be wholly in them, and to this end not to entangle themselves with things of another warfare?

Whether though Ministers may not meddle with those things that are civil, yet may not the Magistrate (specially if Christian) meddle with every thing that is Ecclesiasticall?

If God would have the Magistracy and Ministry (quâ tales) to be distinct,1 Tim 4.5. 2 Quaere. 3 Quaere. Jo [...]. 25.10, 1 [...]. then what are those limits and bounds that God hath set both to the one and to the other? Hath God done to them, as he hath to the sea, set bounds and doors, and said, Hitherty shalt thou come, but no further?

[Page 38] 1. Are all particulars herein jure divine? Is this a truth cleer­ly expressed in the word, or strongly deducible from it?

2. Or is nothing at all jure divine?

3. Or if both the former be equally groundlesse, and the truth lies between these two extreams, and that something be determin­ed cleerly to be jure divine, and some other things only fall under generall comprehensive rules, which may admit of a variety and a latitude in practice, without any manifest transgression, so the generall scope of these rules be observed,—Then we would know, what are those speciall both of the first kinde, and of the later, that we may neither assume a liberty wherein God hath made a restriction, nor groundlesly binde up our selves with restrictions, where the Lord hath left a latitude to Christian prudence and pious moderation.

These and the like questions,Sol. are fitter for a thorow debate elsewhere, then for a Pulpit: and in debate no question is more tender then that of power, and about power; what more intri­cate, then positively to determine and set exact simits for power, thus far you may, and in case you must or else sin, and yet no fur­ther? Disputes usually herein have more heat then light, and I am not here this day to adde fewell to the flame, but powre out water, and, if it were possible, tears of blood, tears of blood to quench that burning which our sins have kindled.

We are all met here this day together, not to hear a private mans determination, but to seek direction from the publike Spirit of the only wise God; the good Lord helpe us all to do it in all sin­cerity, that there may be no Idol in your hearts, Ezck. 14.4. lest the Lord answer us according to the [...] of our Idols [...] but that we may all lay down all preingagements at the foot of the throne of Jesus Christ, that we may all cry with one heart and one mouth, Lord, Psal. 43.3. send out thy light and thy truth, let them guide us: Make thy servants to know the way wherein thou wouldest have them to walke: and as the Church in former times, O thou that dwellest between the Cherubims, shine forth before Ephraim, Beuja­min and Manasseh: So wein our generation may cry, O thou that hearest prayers, shine forth before the Lords, Commons and Assembly, before England, Scotland and Ireland, stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

But is there no direction to be given, Quest. that at least in some degree may be usefull?

In answer whereunto,Sol. I intreat you give me leave to lay down at your feet a three-fold consideration.

1. Consider the difficulty in determining; the wisest of men,1 Consider­ation. when left to themselves, how subject are they to miscarry: when we seriously take into our thoughts the greatnesse of the danger that may ensue upon mistakes, it may make every mans heart to quake and tremble, and rottennesse to enter into our boues. 1. If the Lord helpe not marvellously, mistakes are easie. 3. If you sin herein you sin not alone; it is not the sin of so many pri­vate men: Noble Senatours you are the pillars of the land, the stay of the Tribes thereof: if the supports fall, what can become of the rest of the fabrick? When Rehoboam forsook the Lord, 2 Chro. 12. all Israel followed after him; therefore the Lord speaks to you, as Joshua to the men of Gad, Reuben and half Tribe of Manasseh, Did not Achan commit a trespasse, Iosh. 22.20. and wrath fell on the whole Congregation of Israel, and that man alone perished not in his iniquity? 3. This sin is likely to live when ye are dead; and of all sins, every servant of God had need take heed of those sins most, which may diffuse themselves, not only to the men of the present age, but to after-generations; which may both go be­fore,Basil Magn. apud Theophy­lactum. in [...]oc. [...], Basil Magn. apud Theophy. in loc. and follow us to judgement, which some do not only restrain to the case of Ordination, but extend to other sins that are exem­plary. —Some sins are only private and personall, when the sin­ner dies they die with him; but when men erre themselves, and lead others into errour, these errours and mistakes follow the sin­ner unto judgement, and they shall give an account and suffer, not only because they themselves were seduced, but because they were authours of seducements unto others.

2. Consider not only difficulty in determining. but the danger in delaying. 1. Delayes do not lessen difficulties, there will ever be some impediments, and that which hinders will hinder, till ta­ken away. 2. Breaches and differences grow wider; all the soundations seem to go out of order, when a bone is gone out of joynt, is it not wisedom, rather to suffer the pain in setting, 2 Consider­ation. then to suffer it to abide so long in the dislocation, till at last it fistula or gangrene, and then after far greater pain, no hope of cure but [Page 40]by resection? 3. Spirits of men grow higher. 4. Expectations of the most in waiting grow weary. 5. Religion it self through needlesse disputes is greatly endangered, to run out wholly into opinion, as seed in a wet season, runs up into bulke, the straw is long and ear short, and when the crop for the burden of it is ve­ry great, yet the return for profit and use very little,—Some compare it to the disease called the Rickets in tender children, who in the face look well, and swell in upper parts, but shrinke downwards. It was the reproach of the Church of Rome, that it was all head: let that abide still the character of the man of sin, that there be no cause justly to apply it to any that professe godlinesse. It is a common complaint in the bodies of many, that in their disease which some call [...] viscerum, they finde their stomacks to be cold, and their liver to be hot; but a her head and a cold heart is the worst temper, (or distemper ra­ther) that can befall a Christian. What sight can be sadder, then to see all our strength of Christianity in opinion, and nothing in conversation? Surely it is good that the heart be established with grace, not with meats and drinks, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein—Pari passu a [...]tlare pos­ssunt omnis reli­gro & rulla [...]e ligio. Gerhard. de Magist. pag. 60 [...]. Diascorus Au­gustin. Epist. 55. Tune, O Dias. core. &c. Scire tua [...] [...]i­bit est [...]si te scire, boc sciat alter. E [...]a doctus & pruder us nes­cias. R [...]mpublicam exparvâ mag­nan facere. Respondere pos. sit, [...]e ista nes­cire, & nosse quomodo s [...]e ist is bono po­test esse bea [...]us Aug. Diascoro. Epist. 56. It is observed by learned men, that when Scepticisme comes in upon Christians as a stood, it hath been the next doore to let in Epicurisme and Atheisme to overflow and cover the earth as waters do the sea. When Dias­corus propounded some curious questions to Augustine, and sollicited him earnestly for a present answer, Augustine rebukes him sharpely, and refutes that desire strongly, tells him there is a knowledge that puffeth up, when we desire to know that we may be known, that there are many speculations whereof there may be a learned and prudent ignorance.—That Themistocles, being at a feast entreated to sing and play on an instrument, an­swered, he knew not how to do the one or the other; and when it was demanded of him, what knowest thou? he then replyed, to make the Common-wealth of little to become great. If he could say so, why shouldst thou doubt to answer in these speculations, I confesse my ignorance?—But though I know not them yet, this I know, that without them a man may be happy. When men are sick, it is their wisedom to seek out, not those things that may please the phansie, but those medicines that may purge out the di­sease.

You tell us there are difficulties in determining, Quaery. and dangers in delaying, which way soever you turn, dangers and difficulties are round about us—It is a kinde of contradiction, to presse men to forbear delaying, and yet to tell them, sin lyes at the door in determining. Would you have us determine in the darke?

Here is the strait [...]and we cry out this day as Jehoshaphat did,Sol. We know not what to do, but our eyes are towards thee. And blessed be the God of Heaven that hath put such a thing as this into your hearts, most Noble Senatours, to seek to the God of your fathers, in this extremity let your eyes be ever towards the Lord, and he shall bring you out of your distresses; for the patient expectation of his people shall not perish for ever: And when he prepares their heart to prayer, he causes his own ear to hear.

Are there no directions which might be some way usefull to expedite this great difficulty? Quest.

Give me leave to lay down some generall Rules at your feet,Sol. which may in some degree be as a lampe shining in a darke place.

1. Be afraid rather to mistake your duty in this great cause,Rule 1. then to grapple with any difficulty. Its a great argument of sin­cerity, when the soul is more afraid of the evil of sin, whereby we displease God, then of any evil of misery, whereby God and man may displease us; and therefore pray, Lord, teach us the way wherein thou wouldst have us to walke, make us to know what is our evil, and what is our sin, search us and try us, and if there be any wickednesse in us, lead us in the way everlasting; that in this cause of Christ, you may prefer godly simplicity above all carnall policie; and let no man defraud or go beyond another, for God is an avenger of such things: so shall you partake of that great promise, that integrity and uprightnesse shall preserve you in his way, and your steps shall be ordered by the Lord, and he will delight in your goings. Although the heart be upright, and hath Gods promise to instruct them with his eye, and to guide them with his counsel, yet the way may be darke and slippery. Therefore observe this,

That when the way wherein you should walke is darke,Rule 2. yet the end that is to be aimed at may be clear, and the cleernesse of the end, gives a great deal of light unto the way that in it self is full of darknesse. Now the Gospel holds out the ends we should aim at very clear: As

[Page 42] 1. Christs end is, that the purity of Ordinances may be exalt­ed, that profanenesse might be suppressed, that the old leaven may be purged out, that offences may be removed, that the power of godlinesse may be countenanced; what ever power Christ has given to his Church, he gave it to that end, for which also he gave himself, Ephes. 3 26. that he might sanctifie and cleanse it, till the day come wherein he presents it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, that so it may be holy and without blemish.

2. Christs end is, that mutuall love may be enoreased, that beleevers may purifie their souls, 1 Pet. 1.12. in the obeying of the truth through the Spirit, unto the unfeigned love of the brethren, that they may love one another with a pure heart fervently. All light without love is obscure darknesse, that is the great end Christ aim­ed at:Joh. 15 12. These things I command you, that you love one another, this is the old and new command, the character whereby Christ and his Disciples shall be discerned; without this it is not possible to attain the great end propounded in the Gospel. Can any build­ing stand, when one stone will not lye upon, nor neer another? Is not the whole naturall body join'd by bands and ligaments? and are there no ligaments whereby Christ hath join'd together the members of his mysticall body? Is not the Scripture expresse, that the end why God gave Officers to his Church, was, that the whole body might be fitly joyned together and compacted, Ephes. 4 16. by that which every joynt supplies, might make increase in the same bo­dy, to the edifying of it self in love? And the end also why Christ gives grace, effectually to call them that are chosen, and visibly to build them upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, Ephes. 2.21. his end is, that all the building fitly fram'd together, may grow to be a holy Temple in the Lord, in whom ye are builded together for an ha­bitation of God through his Spirit.

3. The end that Christ would have us to aim at, is, that tyran­ny and schisme may be both prevented: and here lyes the great difficulty, how Christian liberty may be preserved without open­ing a door unto licentiousnesse: how licentiousnesse may be sup­pressed, and no door opened unto tyranny: how the major part should rule the lesse, and yet if the major part be worse, how the worse should not rule the better.

In all this worke be cloathed with humility,Rule 3. Gal. 5.26. P [...]l. 2.3. let none be de­sirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one ano­ther, let not any thing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowlinesse of minde, let each esteem another better then him­self: Let us not look every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others, that the same minde may be in us that was in Christ Jesus our Lord; this lowlinesse of minde God requires in stead of all offerings: and as the Greek Oratour said of Pronunciation in the point of Eloquence, so is humility in pra­cticall Christianity; The first part is humility, the second hu­mility, the third humility; and if you should aske me, saith Austin, a thousand times, I would answer, humility, that humility may go before, and accompany, and follow upon all the things we do well: That it may be propounded, for the eye of the soul to see it; that it may be applied to the heart to cleave to it; that it may be imposed upon the spirit, that begins to rejoyce in things done well, to bal [...]nce the soul, to keep it from swelling, or sinking, that when sincerity has got the victory, pride may not steal away the triumph.

Be you lift up in the waies of God, Rule 4 that you may serve God in this your generation with all integrity; Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glo­ry shall come in; this will make us active for God, when we be­hold his greatnesse; and when we have done all we can, this will preserve us from being lifted up in our selves; when we look up­on his infinitnesse,Isa. 40.16. to whom all Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor all the beasts of the forest sufficient for a burnt-sacri­fice; therefore let us all endeavour to lift up God above our selves, and above all creatures, who hath been our glory, psal. 3.3. our strength, and the lifter up of our heads.

Have your eye upon eternity, Rule 5 that you may be sincere and without offence to the day of the coming of the Lord, that in that great day, when mens hearts shall fail them with fear in looking for the things that are coming upon the world; the Lord may single out you, and say, lift up now your heads, Luk. 11.18. for the day of your redemption draws nigh. When you shall be made higher then the clouds, the soul for ever lifted up, and yet the heart ever kept humble. Paul was exalted with revelations, but when [Page 44]your souls shall be made perfect, you shall not only have the same revelation, but the fruition and enjoyment of those things that it is not possible for any man to utter: 2 Cor. 12.4, 7. And yet never be exalt­ed, either by the abundance of revelations, nor with the perfect­nesse of fruitions; When the grace of redemption shall carry you higher, and make your condition safer, then the grace of creation made Adam when he was in Paradise, or the Angels in Heaven, who left their own habitation, and are reserved in everlasting chains in utter darkenesse to the judgement of the great day; where we shall have peace without war, and joy without grief, where, as Austin saith, there shall be a day without evening, where your Sun shall never set, nor your Moon go down, where your light shall be cleer, without any possibility of errour, for we shall see him as he is,Vocabimus & vi lebimus: vi­debimus & a­malimus, ama­bimus & lau­dabimus Aug. de Civit. Dei. where our love shall be perfect without any mixture of self-seeking, for Christ shall be all in all, where we shall have an eternall Sabbath, where we shall rest in his bosom and ever see him, see him and ever love him, love him and ever praise him, and never be weary in admiring and adoring him to all eternity.


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