A SERMON Preached on SUNDAY The XXVI. of July, 1685. Being the Day Appointed for Solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for His Ma­jesties late Victory over the REBELS.

Preached at Wakefield, By Obadiah Lee, M. A. and Vicar there.

Printed for, and Sold by Elizabeth Richardson Bookseller in Wakefield, MDCLXXXV.


2 Sam. 18.28. The latter part of the verse.

Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lift up their hand against my Lord the King.

The whole verse runs thus.

And Ahimaaz called, and said, unto the King, all is well, and he fell down to the Earth upon his face before the King, and said, blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the Men that lift up their hand against my Lord the King.

THis day being set apart not only as a week­ly Sabbath, Commemorating these Spiri­tual mercies which we receive by the Victorious, and Triumphant Resurrection of the Lord of Life and Glory, over our spiritual Enemies, Sin, Death and Hell: but also by His Majesties Royal Pro­clamation, as a day of special Thanksgiving to [Page 2]God, for his happy Victory over his and our E­nemies; whom no former pardon could ingage, nor acts of grace mollifie to a due discharge of their duty: I thought this History, this particu­lar part of it now read to you, would not be un­suitable to the occasion, and accordingly made choice of it. The Wise man tells us Eccl. 1.9. There is no new thing under the Sun, and ver. 10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been of old time which was be­fore us. Accordingly we have Absalom and Achi­tophel after some revolution of Ages once more upon the stage, in these last and therefore worst of times; pursuing the same methods of destructi­on under the same pretences; and though Israels politick Achitophel did long since wisely dispose of himself to the Halter, to save the Hangman a la­bour, and their Rebellious Absalom was caught up between earth and heaven, as unworthy of either; the senseless Oak becoming a just avenger on him, whom its likely the doting fathers indul­gence would have spared; yet severest instances of heavens wrath will not discourage those Ambi­tious [Page 3]spirits, who have a glistering Crown, and an advanced Throne in their prospect.

But blessed be God our Achitophels projects failing, he dies of the sullens in a Foreign Nation, and our Absaloms Rebellious rout is defeated and himself become a prey to Justice; good news this and who fitter to have the first Tidings of it then Israels King. Loyal and couragious Ahimaaz of­fers himself to Joab the General to be the first messenger of such happy Tidings, and we have him delivering his message to the King, in the words of my Text, blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lift up their hand against my Lord the King.

Thus you see my text is the first Tidings brought to King David, of the total defeat of the Forces of Rebellious Absalom; delivered in the pious strain of Thanksgiving and Praises to King Davids God, blessed be the Lord thy God, &c. That I may the more clearly proceed in the handling of the text, it will be not unuseful, to give you an account of the occasion, in order whereunto we must know that Absalom the main subject of the [Page 4]story, was blest with that high Prerogative of be­ing the King of Israel's Son; one whom God had indowed with the most exquisite accomplish­ments of nature; of goodly personage and surpri­zing beauty and comeliness: the more remarka­ble, because natures workmanship in none so ex­actly delineated in Scripture as this of Absalom, as if God had in him given an exemplar of perfect beauty, chap. 14.25. We read that in all Israel there was none so much to be praised as Absalom for his beauty, from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head, there was no blemish in him. And no wonder that so goodly a presence, a person endowed with such advantages attracts the eyes and affections of all beholders. No soon­er does he appear in Israels famous Metropolis, but all the news and discourse was of the beauty and perfection of the young Absalom.

For the endowments of his soul, he knew how to resent an injury; hide his resentment with shows of kindness, and take the surest and most oppor­tune revenge. Witness his behaviour towards his brother Amnon for the Rape of the beautiful [Page 5] Thamar, so that he was a person of most profound dissimulation. And as he was thus cunningly Revengeful, so of an haughty Ambitious spirit; as he was the Son of a King, so ambitious to be one, for no sooner had he obtained the King his Fathers pardon for his Brothers Murder, and regained His Majesties favour; but he appears in the splen­dor and state of heir apparent to Israels crown. Beauty and greatness made him proud; and great spirits will not rest contented with moderate pro­sperity; and therefore because outward Pomp and unwonted shews of Magnificence affect the light minds of the vulgar, Absalom to the height of his birth, and the incomparable comeliness of his person, adds the unusual state of a more than Princely Equipage, chap. 15.1. He prepares him Chariots, and Horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And now his Chariots rattle, and his pam­pered Horses praunce it proudly through Jerusa­lems streets, with his fifty Footmen in goodly Liveries, running before their glistering Master; the City rings of the glory of their Prince, and are ready to adore these continual triumphs of [Page 6]peace; and though excess and novelty of expen­sive bravery in publick persons give just cause to suspect either vanity or a Plot, yet true hearted David misdoubts no such matter; construes all as meant to the honour of a Fathers Court or the expressions of joy and thankfulness for a late re­concilement. This gives advantage. First to flatter, and thereby gain the mobile to his designs, he rises early, stands in the gate, and with prodi­gious humility in mascarade, he courts the Com­munalty; seems to pity the want of a free course of justice; in which was he (good Man) concern'd, none should have cause to complain. See says he thy matters are good, but alas none is deputed of the King to hear thee. Knowing that no musick is more sweet to the Ears of the unstable multitude, than to hear well of themselves, ill of their Go­vernours. And now every one speaks of his praise; crying out, oh brave Prince Absalom! the World hath not so compleat a Prince as Absa­lom. Thus are the unwary, unthinking subjects hearts stoln by the close Traytor from their law­ful Sovereign; but certainly as no natural face has [Page 7]so clear a white and red as the painted, so such over fair shows are a just argument of unsound­ness.

However having by these Arts scrued himself into the affections of the people, the next ad­vance must be a Cloak of Religion to per­fect the treachery of an ungracious Son, that carries Peace in his Name, War in his Heart; and therefore because the more deformed any action is, the fairer vizor must be put upon it: Absalom forsooth must go to Hebron there to pay his Vows to the most High, which he ut­tered when he was in trouble. How glad is the good Old King at the News hereof, that he hath a Son so goodly, and withal so pious; whom he dismisses loaden with a Fathers blessing, but what trust is there in flesh and blood, when Da­vid is not safe from his own Loyns?

Armed Troops willingly offer themselves to make up the train of this darling Prince, and now he wants nothing but the Oracle of his age, po­litick Achitophel to form the design, him he gains; who advises him first to ascend his Fathers Bed [Page 8]to prevent a future reconcilement, and then to pursue his flying Fathers person; yet David is not so deserted of God or Man, but gathers an Army of Loyal Subjects, though far inferiour to that of Rebellious Absalom, which Army he first Musters and then dismisses, while himself retires to Mehanaim to see the event of this fatal battel. Well the battel is joyned, and the Lord of Hosts with whom it is all one to save with many or with few, takes part with justice, and lets rebellious Israel feel what it is to bear Arms for a Trayterous Usurper, the news of which we have in the Text. Thus I have given you as short account as I could of the occasion of the text, it was rebellious Israels defeat, and usurp­ing Absaloms death that gave Life to these words.

I was going to draw the parallel sutable to this days joy, but I suppose none that have heard the History can be to seek to draw the parallel. Had not we also an Absalom, our late Kings Son (though Illegitimate) one indowed with perfection of Body and Mind, only with Absalom wanting Grace and Loyalty? Was he not as high in the [Page 9]King his Fathers favour as ever Absalom was in Davids? yet Royal favours work nothing upon a disloyal Heart, for though he was as great and high as Riches and Honour could make him, or a Subject in his circumstances could expect: yet filius ante diem patrios inquirit in annos, he searches his Fathers Register, and finding him not old e­nough yet to dye, he seeks by an untimely death to cut off his too indulgent Father, and kind Uncle, that he also might usurp the Throne. And did not he use the same methods, and tread in the same paths that Absalom did of old? having ren­dered himself conspicuous by a more than com­mon Valour and Conduct in foreign Wars, he advances in honour and esteem, and by his Princely train, especially into the West, which it seems he design'd for a more bloody Stage; and prodigious flattery in self-disregarding familiarity, with those of meaner quality he gained their af­fections and stole their hearts.

And now all mens mouths are filled with the praises of this young Prince, he is become at once the darling both of King and Subject. [Page 10] Munmouth's Health is drunk his Praises sung in every place; but amidst the praises of the admir­ing vulgar black thoughts possess the disloyal heart. Neither does he want an Achitophel, the man with three Names, that once betrayed the Grand-fa­ther, and therefore the more likely to betray the Father too. This cunning man fills the young head with aspiring projects, and by his policy forms a Plot, for the destruction of the King, the then Duke of York, our present Sovereign; and ruine of the Government; but through Gods spe­cial Providence this Plot was discovered, and he who expected to be Proclaimed King was pro­claimed a Traytor; but the close Traytor quick­ly improves into an open Rebel, he therefore no sooner hears of the death of the King, but he provides himself with Arms and Ammunition, and had his spies with Absalom in several parts of these nations, to sound the affections of the peo­ple, and make way for his ready reception, and though his as well as Absalom's Achitophel was dead, yet he pursues the design, invades two na­tions at once by himself and accomplices, and un­der [Page 11]the stale pretense of extirpating Popery and Tyranny, he breaks out into open Rebellion, and pushes on to the issue of a Battel.

And though the Loyal Party was as far infe­riour to the Rebels in number, as those of Da­vid were to those of Absalom, yet God who is the only giver of Victory, by these few defeats the more numerous Rebels. And we also had a valiant Ahimaaz, Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe Great Grand-Son to the famous [...] Tobias Matthews Arch Bishop of YORK. our own Coun­trey man, and he also of Sacerdotal Race, to bring Englands King Tid­ings how the Lord had avenged him of his Enemies. Thus you see the pa­rallel holds in all the particulars, and now I hope we may say all is well, and how can we better ex­press our praises to God for this wonderful mer­cy than in the words of the Text, blessed be the Lord our God, which hath delivered up the men that lift up their hand against our Lord the King.

In the Text are three things Observable.

(1.) There were men that lift up their hand a­gainst the King. The best of Kings have Enemies.

(2.) These men thus lifting up their hand against the King are delivered up, viz. to death and destruction. Ruine is the ordinary consequence of Rebellion.

(3.) The God of Israel blessed for thus delive­ring up the men that lift up their hand against the King of Israel. Blessed be the Lord thy God, &c.

1. There were men that lift up their hand against the King. This is supposed, for if there had been none such there had been no blessing of God for delivering them up. The best of Kings are not secure from the worst of Enemies, such as dare to lift up their hands against them. Moses was a Wise, a Learned, and a Pious Prince; one set up immediately by God, and proved his im­mediate call to the Government by most stu­pendous Miracles, and yet this Moses is conspi­red against as an Usurper and a Tyrant: one that took too much upon him, and set himself above the Congregation of the Lord, and tho these found a judgment worthy of God, the Earth no longer able to bear those sinful burdens [Page 13]of it opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, so that they went quick into Hell; yet Re­bellion perished not with these Rebels. David was one of Gods own chusing, a Man after Gods own heart, one that had often hazarded his Life for the defence of Israel his People, yet we have this David complaining, Psalm 3.1. Lord how are they increased that trouble me, many are they that rise up against me; an expression the more remarkable because pen'd upon his flight from Absalom, he had foreign Enemies, Ishbosheth, Hanun, Hadadezer, the state of the Philistines: he had homebred Rebels, those that lift up their hand against him, though their natural Prince; Absalom, Achitophel, Amasa here, Sheba, Ado­nijah, and Joab afterwards.

ƲSE, 1 Let not Kings and Princes then think it strange that such there are, since such there have been; indeed when one considers Ru­lers as an Ordinance of God, the strict commands of obedience and subjection to them; the judg­ments of God in this Life, and that wrath that abides for such in the Life to come, he would [Page 14]think there should be none that should dare to lift up their hand against the Lords Anointed; but what will not men attempt for Rule and Domination; but men first cast of the fear of God before they attempt to put Kings in Fear; and where men have no regard to God and Religi­on, what will they not adventure upon, though it be to their own destruction? and therefore having the example of so many pious, good and wise Kings Rebell'd against, and that under the fair disguise of Piety, Religion and Liberty it may make us the less wonder that such there should be in our days.

ƲSE, 2 Have the best of Kings their Ene­mies? Let not us think the worse of them be­cause they have such as lift up their hand against them. You see none so good but had the like, and therefore let not us harbour the worse thought of them for it, and while they report them care­less or tyrannical; let us remember that it was Scripture long before this Rebellious age had a being, is it fit to say to Kings you are wicked? or to Princes ye are ungodly? Job 34.18. [Page 15]We should not be ready to hearken to the cunning insinuations of Rebels, but if we have but so much as thought evil against the King, the Wise man advises us to lay our hand upon our mouth, in token of shame and abhorrenbe of our selves for it, Proverbs 30. 32. Thus much of the first thing in the Text, there were men that lift up their hand against the King. The best of Kings have their Enemies, which I have been the briefer upon, because it is only supposed and imply­ed in the Text.

Secondly, These men thus lifting up their hand against the King are delivered up to death, and destruction; Ruine is the ordinary conse­quence of Rebellion. Those that seek to de­story the King, shall find destruction to themselves, their mischief shall fall down upon ther own heads, and their violent dealing shall come down upon their own pate, Psalm 7.16. The Wise man who himself also was a King tells us, Proverbs 17.11. An evil man only [Page 16]seeketh Rebellion, and therefore a cruel Mes­senger shall be sent against him. Cartwright understands this messenger by a Synecdoche, pro omni infortunio seu plaga quacunque, for all kind of misfortune, or any sort of Plague, or such a cruel messenger shall be sent against him as shall prove inexorable, as shall inflict the utmost severity upon him. Thus as one of the Criticks upon the place observes, the Rebel, dum quaerit malum alienum justo dei judicio consequitur malum proprium, while he seeks anothers bane he finds his own. Yea whosoever breaks the hedge of Government, some Serpent or other shall bite him, Eccles. 10. 18. They who are impatient of rule over them have ruine very near them.

Need I prove this by Examples? it hath been the observation of some, that the ruine of no sort of sinners hath been so sudden, so unavoidable as the Rebels. We read of none in Scripture who opposed Authority but have been punished eminently in this [Page 17]Life, nor hardly do we read of a Seditious person who was not taken away by a vio­lent death. The first example of Rebellion was also a sad example of Gods great judge­ment upon them; that they who had given future ages a patern for the Sin, should give them also an example of suffering. Korah and his Accomplices were the first that rose up to oppose Authority; and they who by their sin had provoked heaven and disturbed earth, heaven and earth conspire together for their ruine. The Earth opening her mouth to swallow into her bowels the Ring-Leaders of the Rebellion as unworthy to live upon the face of it, so that as the Psalmist expresses it, Psalm. 55.15. An horrible death seiz'd upon them, and they went quick into Hell, when such wickedness was in their dwellings, and among them. And immediately Hea­ven it self appears in flames of fire to act a se­cond part in that avenging Tragedy, on the rest of the two hundred and fifty Com­plices, [Page 18]who were ready to cry up the Re­bels as the good people of the Lord, so that though they had escaped the astonishing Chasma, yet vengeance suffered not to live. Thus God by his immediate, and astonish­ing judgments on the first Authors of Re­bellion recorded in the Annals of Scripture does shew to all succeeding Ages how displea­sing this sin is. So that let pretences be ne­ver so popular, and seemingly Religious, the persons concerned never so great and fa­mous, yet God is no respecter of persons in the execution of his judgments. This pre­sent Story where my Text is gives another dreadful instance of the truth of this Do­ctrine, but this I need but name now, be­cause I have enlarged upon it before in the introduction to my discourse.

And had Zimri Peace that slew his Ma­ster? no, certainly Baasha conspires against his Master Nadab, and slew him. Zimri by a retaliation of Treason conspires against [Page 19]his Lord and Master Elah the Son of Baasha, and slew him; but so little Peace had Zimri after his Conspiracy that within seven dayes, a short reign, he is Besieged by Omri, and all Israel; and since it would be no bet­ter he in a desperate fury kindles his own funeral Pile, casts himself into the flames of his own kindling, burns the Kings Palace over his head, and thus puts an end to his Treason and Life.

And that Monster Phocas who slew his Lord and Master Mauritius how lamentable was his Life? How dreadful and detestable his death? During his short reign he was so transcendent for Vice, and Wickedness, that he was called the calamity of the Roman Empire. His actions were ever unprospe­rous, who ever he engaged against he was overcome, and by the loss of many Pro­vinces he so weakned the Empire, that it ne­ver recovered its former strength and splen­dor, and in the end he became so hateful to [Page 20]all men, that his own Son-in-law with others conspired against him, and brought him to Heraclius the Emperour of the East, by whose Command his Head, Feet, and se­cret Members were cut off, and the stump of his Body given to the Souldiers to be burnt with Fire.

Maximus who slew the good Emperour Gratian, was himself betrayed by the same Souldiers whom he had stirred up against his Prince, and in whom he reposed his trust, who seiz'd on him, deprived him of his Ha­biliments and Ornaments of Empire, pre­sented him bound like a slave to Theodosius and before his face tore him to pieces.

Another sad Example this days occasion does present us with, a Person who might have liv'd the happiest of Subjects, the ho­nour of the Nation, by Rebellion become a prey to deserved Justice, and a Ruine to all his Confederates.

Reason. I Rebellion is a sin against God himself, though intended chiefly for the ruine of his Vicegerents. We cannot lift up a hand against the Lords anointed, but we lift it up against the Lord that made him so, we cannot Rebel against Authority, but we Rebel against God. I do not speak this of my self, Scripture it self speaks as much, Numbers 16. Korah and his Ac­complices rose up against Moses and Aaron, but we find in the 11th. verse of that chap­ter, that God takes it as done to himself, it was against God that they set themselves; so in Moses his speech to Korah, For which cause thou, and all thy company are gathered to­gether against the Lord. So in the recital of this History, Numbers 26. 9. This is that Dathan, and Abiram which were famous in the Congregation, who strove against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the Lord; mind it, it was a­gainst Moses and Aaron that they strove, and [Page 22]yet withal it was against God himself, and then no wonder that such find a judgment worthy of God.

Reason. II It is against the whole Com­munity, Rebellion is universally destructive, and the more universally influential to evil, the greater the Sin, and the greater must needs be the punishment. Rebels are hostes humani generis, Enemies to mankind. St. Paul tells us not only that Rulers come from God, but they are set up for our good, they are the Ministers of God to thee for good: whosoever thou art, whether High or Low, Rich or Poor, they are ordained of God for all our good, even all mankind; with­out whom the World would be like a Wild Forest, wherein the weaker Beasts become a prey to the stronger, and men in it like the Fishes of the Sea, it is the Pro­phet Habakkuks similitude, Habakkuk 1.14. the greater devouring the less, without these [Page 23]mankind could not continue, they therefore that are Enemies to these must needs be E­nemies to mankind.

If then we would eschew ruine let us flie Rebellion, if we would not fare ill, let us do well, carry our selves peaceably, and quietly in those places wherein Providence hath set us, for who is he that will harm you if you be followers of that which is good, 1 Pet. 3.13.

Thirdly, The third thing in the Text is the Praise and Thanksgiving; Blessed be the Lord thy God, that hath delivered up the men that lift up their hand against my Lord the King. This is the main of the Text, where we have three things Observa­ble.

First, This Valiant Ahimaaz does not ascribe the Victory to their own valour, and [Page 24]conduct to their Arms or Armies but to him who stiles himself the Lord of Hosts, it is by him that these Enemies of the King, those that lift up their hand against him were delivered up to ruine and de­struction. And should teach us to do the same in the like case, it is God that puts Valour and Courage into Souldiers, that gives Wisdom and Conduct to Officers; that gives Victory and success to Armies. And then what better use can we make of this dayes Celebrated mercy, than a Deo gratias, Blessed be God that he hath delivered up the men, that lift up their hand against our Lord the King. Mercies vouchsafed, especially delivering mercies, Victory over Enemies should be received with Thanks­giving and Praise to God who is mighty in Battel.

The Second thing observable, Ahimaaz in this Doxology calls God King Davids God; certainly he is the God of the whole [Page 25]Creation, the God of the Spirits of all flesh, especially the God of Israel, a people in Covenant with him, whom he had then chosen for his peculiar inheritance. And yet he is in a peculiar manner the Kings God; not only by special Ordination as he that set him up at first, but by special preservation as he that kept him there where he at first set him up, viz. on the Throne of Israel, and thus though God be the God of all, yet he is in a peculiar man­ner wonderful among the Kings of the Earth.

To this God Ahimaaz ascribes the glory of the Victory and gives the Praise.

The Third thing observable, and herein he is a fit example for us to follow. Bless God for this mercy this day Celebrated, which we shall see we have the greater cause to do, if we consider what might have been the effects of this Rebellion had it succeeded.

It is true they pretended to rise up against Popery, and for the Liberty and Priviledge of the people opprest by Tyranny: and its very likely they would have made good their promise in their own sense, for Rebels pro­mises are alwayes equivocal; the Popery they declared against would have proved E­piscopacy, the effect of it the subversion of the Church of England, for that we know is Rebels Popery, had the success been answe­rable to their desire we should have had no Bishop, but Bishop Ferguson with his Lay-Elders. And they would its like have secu­red the peoples Liberties and Properties, but it would have been in their own hands, where it would have been no easie thing to have got them out again.

And as for the King that they would have set over them, he would have dwin­dled into a Duke of Venice, where all might have been transacted according to the di­ctates of the infallible Senate.

These Hoghen Moghens would its like have prefer'd their King to the new nothing of a Stat-holder while they themselves had ruled the roast, for cut but once the line of Royal Succession and none can be King but by the long Sword, or the peoples bounty. And they are like to Reign as Kings indeed, who are beholden to the people that they are so. The Bill of Exclusion would have made Kingly Government precarious, would have brought in Arbitrary Government in­deed, much worse than that which our Malecontents have wrongfully complained of, and then have we not great cause to bless God for this days mercy.

One thing I would mind you of, and then shall put an end to my discourse. Let us have a care while we bless God we do not dishonour him; let us not bless him as if he was some Heathenish Bacchus, pleased with [Page 28]full Cups, and honoured with intemperance; which we should be the more careful in be­cause it is the Lords day, which certainly upon no occasion should be profaned; and therefore let us be careful to be Religious while we have a grateful sense of this dayes mercy. We cannot its true Praise God too much, but we may easily drink too much, and drunkenness is but a bad conclusion of a Lords Days Sacrifice. I shall end where I did begin, blessed be the Lord our God, that hath delivered up the men that lift up their hand against our Lord the King. To which God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be given for this, and all other his mercies all Honour, Glory, Praise and Thanksgiving now and for ever. Amen.


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