The Happiness of a People In the Wisdome of their Rulers DIRECTING And in the Obedience of their Brethren ATTENDING Unto what Israel ought to do: RECOMMENDED IN A SERMON Before the Honourable GOVERNOUR and COUNCIL, and the Respected DEPUTIES of the Mattachusets Colony in New-England.

Preached at Boston, May. 3d. 1676. being the day of ELECTION there.

By WILLIAM HUBBARD Minister of Ipswich.

Exod. 18. 21. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of Truth.
Rom. 13. 1. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no Power but of God.
Psal. 44. 1 [...]. Happy is the people that is in such a case, yea happy is that people whose God is the Lord.
Ubi Ordinis defectus ibi exoriuntur In acre fulmina, in terra commotiones, in Mari inundationes, in corporibus Aegritudines, in urbibus, Seditiones, in animabus peccata, O do continet Coelestia, terrestria, Ordo est in intelligibilibus, Ordo in sensibilibus, Ordo in astris, Ordo in omnibus. Naz.

BOSTON, Printed by John Foster. 1676.


TO THE HONOURABLE John Leveret Esq Governour of the Mattachusets Colony, Together with the rest of the Honourable Council of Magistrates of the said Colony.

WHereas it hath been customary and commendable in former and less curious times, it seems in this critical age, not only expedient, but necessary to send such discourses as the ensuing abroad into the world under the shadow & protection of some Worthyes, whose countenance & authority may defend them from any malevolence they may be incident unto: wherefore the following Sermon being by providence now called forth into publick view, I am necessarily emboldned to dedicate it unto your Names, not knowing to whom the patronage of it doth more properly belong. As it is a favour from you, [...] may the better expect it in that you gave the first occasion to any Elucubrations of mind about it: As it is any testi­mony of Observance from me, none may better then you deserve it. I never intend­ed any further publication then the preaching, lest such Crambe bis cocta might not relish well in the Palates of this curious Age, so plentifully furnished with all varietyes of Wisdome & Knowledge; but for their sakes who by the exigence of the Times, and present distress of the Warre, were denied the opportunity to be of the Auditory, I have condescended to make it Legible. I shall not insist upon any A­pology about the Subject chosen to treat of, it giving so fair an occasion to speak of all the most important dutyes that either Rulers or People can be concerned in whatever juncture of affairs should come upon them. It cannot be denied but in the latter end of the former year, the wisest amongst us were under sad-apprehen­sions concerning the issue of the present troubles that were thon come, and dayly coming upon us, in regard of the Rage of the Heathen so far let loose against us, and those that were concerned in the Election of Magistrates for this present year, were ready to fear they might be speak the persons on whom the next Election should fall with the words of the prophet, Thou hast Cloathing, be thou our Ruler, and let this ruine be under thine hand. But Thanks be to Almighty God that hath verified that ancient Proverb of the Hebrews, to our late expe­rience, Cum duplicantur lateres, hinc venit Moses: And as Israel was never brought into greater Streights then a little before Pharaoh and his Host were to be drowned in the red Sea, so hath it in a sence been with our selves. There could not but be a very sad face of things in Israel, when their first King had by his ill Steerage and bad Conduct of affairs, after a long Tempest of Warre shipwrack [...] [Page] himself, his Family, all his Kingdome in that fatal Battle on the mountains of Gilboa, But he whose sole Prerogative it is to bring good out of evill, ordered that disasterous Calamity to become an occasion to usher in the greatest prosperity that ever that Nation enjoyed either be fore or since that time. For as God when he had a purpose to exalt his people to be the Head of the Nations amongst whom they lived, and not the tayle; he infused a spirit of Counsel and Wisdome into the minds of their Leaders, Instructing them to find out the right and ready way of their future peace and tranquility; together with a spirit of Love and Obedience in the People to attend thereunto. It is a good Omen unto Israel when the Go­verment of the Tribes falls into such hands as have Understanding in the times to know what Israel ought to doe; it will then be no hard matter to perswade their Brethren to comply with their Commands. As every season of a mans life carryes its particular dutyes along with it, so doth every age of the World bring with it particular dutyes as the work of that Generation; As it concerns every judicious Christian to know the one, so it doth every Head or Leader of the Tribes to be acquainted with the other; as also prudently to observe the fit season and peculiar manner of acting for the performing such duties upon which narrow point depends the success of al humane affairs & undertakings. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore is the misery of man great upon him, saith Solomon, i. e. Because time and Chance hapneth to them all, the sons of men that know not their times, are taken as Fishes in an evill net. If any thing be found hinted in the following Discourse, that hath any tendency that way, or may become an help thereunto, as it is all I aimed at, so shall I rest abundantly satisfied, if what it humbly offered in that kind, find favourable acceptance with your selves or others. As for the times in which, and the place where our Lot is cast: although in many respects we may say with the Psalmist, The Lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, and that we have a goodly Heritage, yet must we owne, that what with the imperfections of our minds & Wills, & what with many other temptations that ly before us in the work of our Generation con­curring therewith, we have met with a sufficient degree of affliction and trouble, enough to ballance our hearts, and keep us from being exalted above measure: yet need not this be any Remora, or hindrance unto us, in the present duty and Service we are called unto, there being no reason to be rendred why we should not walk toge­ther in Unity, Love and Peace in those things whereunto we have attained, because in some others, and possibly those of less moment, some may be otherwise minded. Concerning which minute and lesser Differences, I shall not presume here to offer any thing, tending to make the least alteration in any of your judgments, being fully perswaded that in all the main and essential matters of Religion, both of Faith and Order, as well as righteousness, you are all of one mind & judgment & will all both [...], and severally exert your most str [...]nous endeavours, for the pro­moting the honour and Glory of God, and the good of those under your charge; In [Page] which endeovours if you shall persist, it may be hoped that as hitherto God hath owned your selves, as well as your Predecessors, to become as a wall and defence to his vineyard here planted, so there may be still found of you that shall help to build the waste places, and raise up the foundations of many Generations; and that you (notwithstanding the present Combustions) shall be called the Repairers of the Breach, and the restorers of pathes to dwell in. It is possible you may be importu­nately molested with the clamours of these or those, to make this or that change in your course, to gratifie particular mens humours, of which you need take no more notice then the skilfull Pilot at the helme uses to doe of the cryes of the unskilfull, fearfull Passengers that think that course will ruine the vessel, which is the only way to preserve it. There is an old Fable, that when there hapned a great conten­tion about the weather, those of the high Countryes complained that they were al­most burnt up with drought for want of rain, and those of the valleys said they were almost drowned for want of Sun-shining dayes: Jupiter sent them word by Mercury the weather should be as it had been. Possibly some under your Gover­ment are as ready to complain of too much restraint, as others are of too much liber­ty. I humbly conceive you cannot doe better, then to let things be as they have been heretofore, so to countenance and encourage those that fear God and work rightious­ness, but sharply to rebu [...]e and timely to repress whatever is contrary to sound do­ctrine, or apparentl, tends to hinder the power of Godliness, and progress of true Religion, with all other profaness or unrighteousness, that under the shadow of your Government we may lead quiet lives in all godliness and honesty, yet keeping in mind the wise caveate of our Saviour, that in gathering up the tares you root not up the wheat also. It is one great part of the unhappiness of this life, that neither wise nor good men are all of one mind, but yet all due care had need be taken, that differences be made neither more nor greater then they are, or carried on with such Animosity or bitterness, as should prejudice the interest of Religion, or welfare of the Commonwealth. Yea possibly the differences in our minds that occasion most disturbance arise only from that which they call [...] so as if things were not strained at both ends further then the equity of the Rule will al­low, all might well hold together, when the over straining of things is oft times ready to break all to pieces. If God in whose hand our times are, and who sets the bounds of our habitations, shall as he hath begun, goe on to perform his while work upon his people, and send such rest unto his Churches here, that the Answer to be returned to the Messengers of the Nations shall be, The Lord hath founded our Sion, and that the poor of the people shall trust in it. How can it better be improved, them by taking care that the Churches under your care in this Jurisdicti­on may be edified, walking in the fear of God, that the Lord our God may be with us as he was with our Fathers, that he may not leave us nor forsake us, nor our Posterity after us. Which to effect, I humbly conceive, there is no way more pro­bable, then by interesting them as much and as soon as may be, in all the priviledges [Page] that Christian Religion allows, & as they grow up, to engage them through­ly and seriously in all the dutyes it requires; to take care that it be done by those whom it more immediately concerns, is certainly a duty in special incumbent on your selves. To this end I may commend to your Consideration, the Political Fa­thers of the Country, the [...] of Abraham, whom we find both approved & rewarded of God for commanding his children and his houshold after him to keep the way of the Lord and to doe Justice and Judgment, that the Lord might bring upon him that which he had spoken of him. If he were not much mistaken who said it was morally impossible to rivet Christian Religion into the body of a nation without Infant Baptisme, by proportion it will as necessarily follow that the neg­lect or disuse thereof, will as directly tend to root it out. How far the Command given to Joshuah by God himself to circumcise the Children of Israel, i. e. to take order that Circumcision should be used again among the people (by that means to rowl the reproach of Egypt from off the Children of Israel) may be looked upon as obliging to your selves I shall not now say, ye doubtless if what was written or hapned to them was intended as matter of example and admonition to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come, some use may and ought to be made of such Declarations of Gods will. Whatever Indulgence may be judged need­full to be used to some that may be of different apprehensions. I have adventured to say something in the following Discourse, for cleering the duty of Rulers in matters of Religion from mistakes, and stating the bounds of moderate Toleration (so far as the time allotted for such an exercise would al­low) not so much for direction to your selves, as for the information of others who by their too much rigidness on the one hand, or laxness on the other, may be rea­dy to obstruct the Churches peace, but not promote the purity of Gospel Worship, plàcidè contra sentientem ferre is no small piece of Christian prudence, the want of which I fear hath done much hurt in this poor Country, as well as in other reformed Churches. Dissenters in Religion being not much unlike the Seditious in the State, who by fair meanes may be gained, but by too much severity are apt to run into uncurable opposition and obstinacy. It must be owned for your future Honour that much hath been done by you to carry on the work of God in this Gene­ration, yet may it be feared that his words will be found too true, (a man much employed and approved by your selves, while he was conversant in this world) that unless many things were done for the further setling of the matters of Religi­on amongst us before this Generation went off the Stage, they that came after would have cause to say, that their Predecessors had left much of their work un­done.

Thus craving your acceptance of this my small mite, which I am willing to cast into the Churches Treasury, under the countenance of your Authority, I shall no further trouble you this way. I have made no materiall alteration in any ex­pression, [Page] nor addition of any [...] but what was intended to have been spoken, if time would then have given leave.

The Lord fill you all with the Spirit of Wisdome and Counsell, and make you as the men of his right hand, whome he hath made strong for himself, and grant you may be found like David, who being chosen to be the Shepard of Gods Israel fed them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hand, which is the Prayer of,

Your humble Servant W. H.

SOme Faults have escaped in the Press which the Reader is desired to cor­rect by reading, In p. 4. l. 28. head for Decades. l. 29. Decades for heads. p. 5. l. 19. best for bear. p. 7. l. 30. several for general. p. 9. l. 6. read residence p, 17 l. 23. immersed for emersed. p. 18. l. 16. badges for bodyes. p. 19. l. 9. & 20. l. 36. Apologue for Apologus. p 27. l. 25. leave out, here. p. 22. l. 23. our worst for or worse. l. 21. vigor for rigor. l. 23. peccatur for peccat. p. 33. l. 13 I­sacks for Israels. p. 37. l. 26. fifth for first. p. 39. l. 14. for hast hate. p. 40. l. 13 tardus for territus. p. 43. l. 27. booty for body. p. 45. l. 18. rights for rites. l. 32 wars for way. The like errors in spelling or pointing, may be helped by them that read, as where each is printed for such. p. 56. l. 36.

[Page 1]
1 Chron. 12. 32.

Of the Children of Issachar, which were men that had un­derstanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred, and all their Brethren were at their Commandment.

IF ever those words of Wisdome, Proverbs. 8. 15. By we Kings Reign, and Princes decree Justice, were true of any of the Kings and Princes of the Earth, they were true of David, who in his publick, as well as private capacity approved himself a Man after Gods own heart; leaving an unimitable patern to the Kings of all succeed­ing ages, both of piety in obeying God and of wisdome and justice in ruling over men: as if the Book wherein Samuel wrote the manner of the King­dome, had been perfectly transcribed in his life and Government. It was not undeservedly therefore, that after so large an edition of the whole Hy­story of the Acts, and Reign of David, in the two first Books of the Kings, such a considerable addition should be made to that part of the Hystory, which concerned his entrance upon his Kingdome, in this twelfth Chapter of the first book of the Chronicles, where we have the triumphant manner thereof at large described, being attended therein with a great Host as it is called, ver. 22. like the Host of God: from which verse, to the end of this Chapter, it is very remarkable how the Pe [...]man of this sacred Chronicle, like some Divine Herauld, is Marshalling the respective bands of the said Host, under the particular Banners of their several Tribes, assigning unto each, some distinct Character, as a special badg of honour according as they best deserved, either for the skilfulness of their Captains and Leaders, the number and valour of their followers, & willingness or readiness in both, to promote the design in hand, which was the turning the Kingdome of Soul unto David.

[Page 2]Amongst the rest of the Tribes, as they are here ranked in this Chapter, special notice is taken of the Tribe of Issachar, of which Tribe altho [...] no great matter had been foretold in the Prophe [...]ical [...], either of Ja­cob or Moses, yet is there here in the Text a very signal testimony given, both to their piety and prudence, to their unity and magnanimity, any of which cannot be conceived, but to tend more then a little to the successful car­rying on that great affair which now they had in hand: so as at that time, what Solomon saith of his vertuous Woman, Prov. 31. 29. might very [...]i [...]ly have been said of the Tribe of Issachar, many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all.

In the words of the Text there are four things very obvious to the view of the observant Reader.

1. The Distribution of the whole Tribe into its integral parts or consti­tuent Members, as to their political order, viz. the Heads and the Brethren; of which two united together consisted the body of the Tribe, as is here im­plyed.

2. The qualification of each part, fitly disposing them to a regular per­formance of the duty incumbent on either, for the good of the whole. 1. Wisdome, in those that were the Heads, described both by its specification, understanding of the times. 2. By its application, to know what Israel ought to do. 2. Willingness in the Brethren, to attend the advice and counsel of their Leaders, they were at their Commandment.

3. The regular and orderly proceeding of each part, the which is neces­sarily implyed in the words; that when the heads of the Tribe had coun­selled and determined what was needful to be done, the Brethren were rea­dy to put their resolves in Execution. It was not in Issachar, as Anacharsis the Philosopher, sometimes complained of the tumultuous proceedings in the popular Common-wealth at Athens, that wise and grave men deliberated on things, but fools and mad men resolved thereof: but at this time in Issachar, the body of the people were ready to put in execution what those who had understanding in the times judged needful to be done.

4. The entire unity of the Tribe amongst themselves, declaring the unanimous consent of the whole; in that it is said, all their Brethren were at their Commandment, so at the Commandment of the two hundred which were the Heads, which doth justly advance the gallantry of the Action of the tribe of Issachar in this affair, above that of any of [...] of the Tribes by the same proportion, by which our Saviour preferred [...] of the poor Widow above all the rest of the Contributers; [...] she put into the Treasury all which she had, so doth this Tribe send all their whole Stock to increase the Host of David: which if they were not so many thousands as some of the other Tribes might send, yet seeing there were none that staid [Page 3] behind, it was for want of number, but not of good-will, if they did no [...] e­qual or exceed the rest of the tribes.

I shall only paraphrase a little upon the words, to give the sense and meaning of them, before I commend any thing from thence to our present consideration.

Of the Children of Issachar, these were the descendants of the fifth Son of Jacob by his W [...]e Leah, whose Lot as it seems to have fallen in one of the richest, and most fruitful so [...]es of the whole Land of Canaan, so was it more likely, as was foretold in Jacobs blessing to dispose the Inhabitants, by reason of the r [...]bul [...]ickness of their body (an ordinary effect of the fertility of of any soyle) to couch down under a double burden of tribute then by any val [...]u [...] of their minds, to shake off the servile yoke. It may then not un­seasonably here be demanded how it should come to pass, that this Tribe should answer this honourable character given of them, whereby they may well be thought to have at this time had the precedency of all the rest of the Tribes, both for their civil prudence, and military Discipline, as well as care of Religion. The reason given by some Interpreters seems not sufficient to solve the knot, viz. of those who say, that being given to Husbandry, that occasioned them to be more curious observers of times, and seasons; but no­thing appears, why that may not as well be alleadged of most of the other [...], whose [...] hills, & fertile vales required alike prudent observation [...], & [...] for their [...]: God in nature having appointed a time, & season for every work & purpose that is to be done under the sun, wher­fore if it may be lawfull to make conjectures in things of this nature, it may more probably be conceived, that this Tribe by its natural scituation bor­dering upon the enemies countrey, or upon the account of its fertillity, be­ing more desirable, might thereby become more obnoxious to the invasions of their neighbour enemies, the Philistines, and so might either become the very seat of w [...]r, or a through-fare of military expeditions; and so by long experience of the Calamityes and service of Warr, they might become as well expert in managing the affairs of Warr, as serious in the pursuit of the meanes tending to promote a setled, and lasting peace. It is commonly said that experience is the Mistriss of fooles, yet without any diminution of their praise be it spoken, who attain wisdom at an easier rarer. It is oft obser­ved that they are, or prove the wisest of all other men, who have been trained up in her School: those impressions last the longest, that have been made by the deepest incision. Hystorians say of this Tribe, that it was a land thir­sty of bl [...]ud, a place where many fatal battles, had, before this time as well as after, hapned to have been fought: as that of Gideon in the [...] of [...]; the late slaughter of Saul and the Israelites on the mountains of G [...]bo [...], the victory over Benhadad and the Syrians neer Aphek, with some [Page 4] others, all hapning within the confines, or neer the Borders of the tribe of Issachar. Possibly many bloudy Skirmishes had also been fought during the reign of the former King within their precincts, whereby the People of this Tribe had been experimentally taught the miseries and calamities of war, that are usually produced or prolonged for want of wisdome, and skilful conduct in them that have the chief command. They being conjoyned in one common misery, they might the more easily be united in one common remedy, viz. the advancement of a more meet person to the chief place of Rule and Government in the Nation, one approved by their own experience for his skilful & successful managing the assurs of War as well as warranted by the call of God, and therefore more likely to promote the welfare and tranquility of their own, together, with that of the rest of the Tribes of Israel. For before this time, David was known to have behaved himself wisely among the Servants of Saul, as one that knew how to go on, and to go in before the People.

The Heads of them:] there was amongst the People of Israel as it were a threefold Common-wealth, as the learned S [...]gonius speaks in his Treatise of the Commonwealth of the Hebrews, one was that of the whole People, of whom first the Judges, afterward the Kings were the chief Heads and Rulers. The other was of every City, which had its Head or chief Ruler; as we read in several places of the Scripture, as Judg. 9. 30. 1 King. 22. 36. 2 Chron. 34. 8. The third was that of every Tribe, which had its Head or chief Ruler, 1 Chron. 27. 16. 2 Chron. 19 11. called the Prince or Head of the Tribe: under whom were the chief Heads or Rulers of every Family in that Tribe: For as every Tribe consisted of several Families, unto one of of which might all the descendants of that Tribe be reduced, so was some one person, either by the eminency of his Gifts, or dignity of his Birth­right, usually advanced to be the chief Ruler, or decades of that Family, ac­cording to the distribution of the People into so many Head, according to Jethro's advice, Exod. 18. 21. At this time it seems there were two hundred Heads of the chief Families of the Tribe of Issachar, in whose wisdome and integrity the rest of the Tribe had such confidence, that they were willing to refer the managing of all their civil affairs, and great concernments to their prudence and discretion, engaging themselves to be ready to put in execution what ever should by their joynt consent be determined and agreed upon. So sweet was the accord between those Heads, and their Brethren, that they seemed like one intire body, animated and directed by one and the same Spirit and Principle of life and Wisdome.

That had understanding of the times:] Nothing all that Wisdome that belongs to Rulers Divine and Humane: For by times we are to understand things done in those times, by a metonimy of the adjunct. And for the [Page 5] word understanding; it is expressed by two words in the Hebrew, yet not un­fitly translated by one, according to the use of our Language: the one seems to note the act of the mind, in way of simple apprehension: the other the act of the judgement, in way of accurate consideration dijudicating of the time and season with other circumstances, discerning when all things are laid to­gether in the ballances what doth preponderate, & so most needful to be at­tended: this expression, Esther. 1. 12. is interpreted by knowing law and judgement, and such are there called wise men; according to which notion Solomon tells us that a wise mans hearted discerneth time and judgement. Eccl. 8. 5. both the thing which, and the time when it is to be done. The Hebrew word here and elsewhere translated understanding, means the same with that which in Latine is called Prudentia or rectaratio agibilium, so knowing the right reason of things that are to be done; it cometh from & hath a near cognation with a word that signifies to build. A wise man that hath any de­signe to bring about, is like an Architect, who first frameth in his minde an Idea of that which he purposeth to erect, whereby he may foresee how one peice must depend upon another, and accordingly provide such materials, as will bear suit together, for the carrying on his fabrick: for, as one saith well, they are not the wisest men that know most, but they that know what is most useful and proper to bring about the designe they have in hand: nor can a man be thought rightly to understand a business that doth not see through the circumstances, it is cloathed with: for many times the circum­stances may much alter a case, oft times it cometh to pass, that those things which considered in themselves, and of their own nature seem most directly tending to such an end, yet falling in conjunction with other things, pro­duce a contrary effect. Thus are the most probable means oft disappointed, being prevented by time and chance, which they wanted wisdome to foresee, for want of which foresight great is the misery that men bring upon them­selves and others: yet is not a superficial wisdome sufficient for this purpose: many may be deceived by a plausible appearance of things, into which they have not a through insight and discerning. By a mistake of this nature Ab­salom and all the heads of the people that were with him ruined themselves and one another, and so were overthrown, not having understanding of the times in that juncture of affairs: The Cousel of Act it phel says Hushai is not good at this time, which in all those dayes was as the Oracle of God, and was so in that exigent, if it had been discerned by the heads of the people then present as to the design they had in hand: no doubt but at that time Davids Prayer (to which the Almighty said Amen) was to take place for the turning the Counsel of Achitophel into foolishness: but according to Men, the ruine of Absalome and his party proceeded from their not understanding of the times which made them neglect the good counsel of Achitophel, as it is called, 2 Sam. 17. 14.

[Page 6]To know what Israel ought to do,] By Israel we are most commonly to understand not the person, but the posterity of Jacob, who were more fre­quently stiled after that honourable appellation imposed on him after his wrestling with, and prevailing over the Angel, then by that name he received from the casual event which hapned at his birth, whence he was called Jacob. But in this place by Israel we are by another Trope (as often elsewhere) to understand, the holy people in covenant with God, separated and distinguish­ed thereby, from the rest of the people of the world, which is emphatically to be noted here; for as Wisdome is properly the knowledge of the right way to the best end, so is the end that Israel ought to aime at, far differing from that which the rest of the World designe to themselves, consequently the means or wisdome that must be improved for that end must be far dif­fering also, as neither flowing from the same fountain, nor resting on the same Principles or Foundation, but altogether Eccentrick thereunto. To give an instance suitable to the occasion before us, the end of civil policy or Government in the Rulers of this World, is, that Men may live peaceably and quietly one with another; therefore looking unto no higher end, no wonder if they pitch upon no other means, then those that seem most pro­bable to bring about that end, viz. attendance unto those Rules of Righte­ousness and wayes of honesty, that are known by the light of nature, called jus gentium or jus naturale. But the end that Israel ought to aime at, is that men may lead a quiet life in all godliness and honesty, as Paul speaks, 1 Tim. 2. 2. which one Text were enough to confute all those that would debar civil Rulers from inter medling in matters of Religion: but how far they may and ought to interpose their authority in things of that nature, there may be occasion to speak more afterward, by Gods assistance.

Otherwise it would follow, that the Magistrate is only to take care, that men may live quietly and peaceably one with another, whither they live ho­nestly or no: but by the Apostles Rule, if the Magistrate is to take care that they may live honestly, as well as quietly and peaceably, he must in like man­ner see that they live godlily as well as honestly: which necessarily implies, that he ought to take care for godliness, in the observation of the first Table, as well as for honesty in the observation of the second.

Further also, where the end that Israel aims at may be coincident with that which is aimed at by the rest of the world, yet may not Israel take that li­berty to compass that end, which others of the World may, at least use to do; for Israel must not do evil that good may come thereof: For as the A­postle James saith, the wisdom that descendeth not from above is earthly, sensual & devilish, such as mens ends are, such will the means be which they make use of to bring about those ends: yea oft times worldly men will make use of very evil means to bring about a good end. The Rule Israel ought to walk [Page 7] by is to suffer rather then to sin: so our Saviour Christ tells his Disciples what is that custome of the Gentiles, but will not allow them so to do, Mat. 20. 25, 26

In the particular case before Issachar, and the rest of the Tribes of Israel at this time, it was not difficult to know what they ought to do; if they did but consider the call of God in anointing David to be King, as well as the qualifying him with Royal gifts for that purpose, which considera­tions alone could not be counter balanced by all the allegations on the behalf of the house of S [...]ul, which was now rejected of God, which Abner knew to be true, as he confessed afterward, although he set himself to uphold the contrary Faction.

Their Brethren were at their Commandment,] in the Hebrew, it is, they were at their mouth. The mouth being the Organ designed for the forming of words, where by to express the conceptions of the minde, it is oft put to signifie Words, or Commandments that are uttered thereby, as it is here translated in the Text. Hereby is noted the unanimity and sweet a­greement between the Heads and the People of this Tribe, as if one Spirit had run through the whole body thereof. An happy presage of good suc­cess in the business they had now in hand, if the rest of the Tribes were in like manner affected, as is very probable they were in a great measure. This Spirit of unity and obedience, being most exemplarily found in this Tribe of Iss [...]char: the strength also of their courage and resolution is necessarily implied here: as if they were ready to adventure their lives in whatever service they might be put upon, like the Souldiers of the Centurion in the Gospel, who were always ready to come, or to go, or to do whatsoever their Commander should put them upon. If any should ask, whither the knowledge of what Israel ought to do, is intended of the Heads of the Tribe only, or of the Brethren also? I answer, of both, according to due pro­portion: that which the Heads of the Tribe advised unto, was apprehended by their Brethren as most behooful for their several good, accordingly they are with meet courage and resolution of minde ready to put the same in execution. Guidance belongs to their Leaders, Obedience to their followers, whose wisdome it is to obey rather then dispute the Commands of their Su­periours.

The words present us with as perfect a pattern, and as compleat a model of a well tempered principallity, or common-wealth, as any where we meet with in all the sacred Hystory, and that in these four respects,

  • 1. As to the beauty of their Order.
  • 2. As to the Wisdom of their Conduct.
  • 3. As to the Unity of their Counsels.
  • 4. As to the Strength of their Courage and Resolution.

All which I shall [Page 8] endeavour to make out, before I commend any thing to your thoughts by way of Application. These are as four Elements to the political World: where these do all meet, they will make any part of the earth a Paradise, like those four Rivers that watered Eden: It must needs be a flourishing state, where may be seen due order in the constitution of a Government, and administration thereof, True Wisdom in the Rulers, Entire Unity in the peo­ple, joyned with meet Courage for the execution of the prudent commands of their Leaders: of such a place it may be said, that it is beautifull as Tir­zah, co [...]ely as Jerusalem, terrible &c. Cant. 6. 4.

In the first place I call it the Beauty of their Order, and so it is, whether we respect their Constitution, or their Administration. Ubi Ordo dominatur, saith Nazi [...]nzen, pulchritud [...] splendeseit: that is, where Order preva [...]les, Beauty shines forth. It was Order that gave Beauty to this goodly fabrick of the world, which before was but a confused Chaos, without form and void. Therefore Job, when he would set out the terribleness of the grave, and the dismal state of death, he calls it, the Land of darkness, and the shadow of death without any Order. Job. 10. 22. For Order is as the soul of the Universe, the life and health of things natural, the beauty and strength of things Artificial. When the prophet Isaiah, would describe a place designed to destruction, Isa. 34. 11. he sayes, the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness shall be stretched over it. The better to understand this we may consider, what Order is? The Schools tell us, it is, Parium, im­parianq, suacui (que) tribuen [...] [...], apta dispositi [...]. Such a disposition of things in themselves equall and unequal, as gives to every one their due and pro­per place. It suited the wisdom of the infinite and omnipotent Creator, [...]to make the world of differing parts, which necessarily supposes that there must be differing places, for those differing things to be disposed into, which is Ordhr. The like is necessary to be observed in the rational and political World, where persons of differing endowments and qualifications need a differing station to be disposed into, the keeping of which, is both the beauty and strength of such a Society. Naturalists tell us that beauty in the body arises from an exact symmetry or proportion of contrary humours, equal­ly mixed one with an other: so doth an orderly and artificial distribution of diverse materials, make a comely Building, while homogeneous bodyes (as the depths of waters in the Sea, and heaps of sand on the Shore) run into confused heaps, as bodyes uncapable to maintain an order in themselves. So that it appears, whoever is for a parity in any Society, will in the issue reduce things into an heap of confusion. That God who assumes to him­self the the title of being the God of Glory, is the God of peace, of Order, and not of Confusion, 1. Cor. 14. 33. compar'd with ver. 40 He is so in his Palace of the world, as well as in his temple of his Church: in both [Page 9] may be observed a sweet subordination of persons and things, each unto other. As for his Temple of the Church, whither we consider the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy of Holyes, or the middle part, or the outward Court: a distinction of order may be observed in all. Look we into the third hea­vens the high and holy place, as a royal Pavilion pitched by the Almighty for the recidence of his Glory, although it be furnished with Inhabitants suitable to the nature of that celestial throne, yet are they not all of one rank and order; there are Cherubims as well as Seraphims, Arch-Angels as well as Angels. Thrones and Dominions, as well as Principalityes and Powers. There are also, as in a middle rank, the Spirits of just men made perfect: though no unclean thing may enter in, yet have they not attained their per­fection in Glory, but do yet expect an addition of Glory: but in the out­ward Court, as there are diversityes of gifts, so there are of places, and or­der: some that are to rule and go before, others that are to be subject, and to follow. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your selves. Heb. 13. 17. If we shall but descend and take notice of the firmament, the pavement of that glorious mansion place, although it be the roof of this lower world, may we not there see, one star differing from another in glory? There is placed the Sun, the lord and ruler of the day, as well as the Moon, that rules the night, together with the stars, as the common-people of that upper region, who yet doe immediately veyle their glory, and withdraw their light, when their bridegroom cometh forth of his chamber. In the firmament of the air, may we not see the lofty eagle in his flight far sur­mounting the little choristers of the valleys? The like disproportion who observes not amongst those creatures that take their pastime in the deep waters, or that range upon the high mountains, hunting for cheir prey? And hath not the same Almighty Creator and disposer of all things made some of the sons of men as far differing in height of body one from the other, as Soul from the rest of the people, that whom he was higher from the shoulders upward, or as much as the sons of A [...]ak did excel Zache­us in procerity of stature. And are not some advanced as high above o­thers in dignity and power, as much as the cedars of L [...]banon the low shrubs of the valley? It is not then the result of time or chance, that some are mounted on horse-back, while others are left to travell on [...]. That some have with the Centurion, power to command, while others are required to obey. The poor and the rich meet together, the Lord is the maker of them both. The Almighty hath appointed her that sits behind the mill, as well as him that ruleth on the throne. And herein hath he as well consulted the good of humane nature, as the glory of his own wisdome and power: Those of the superiour rank, but making a supply of what is wanting in the other: other­wise might not the foolish and the ignorant be like to loose themselves in the [Page 10] Wilderness, if others were not as eyes to them. The fearful and the weak might be distroyed, if others more strong and valiant, did not protect and defend them. The poor and the needy might starve with hunger and cold, were they not fed with the morsells, and warmed with the fleece of the wealthy. Is it not found by experience, that the greatest part of mankind, are but as tools and Instruments for others to work by, rather then any proper Agents to effect any thing of themselves: In peace how would most people destroy themselves by slothfulness and security? In war they would be destroyed by others, were it not for the wisdome and courage of the valliant. If the virtue and the valour of the good did not interpose by their authority, to prevent and save, the vice of the bad would bring mischief e­nough upon places to ruine both, else why is it so frequently intimated in the latter end of the book of Judges, that in those dayes, when there was no king in Israel, but every man was left to do what seemed right in his own eyes, that these and those enormityes brake forth, that violated all [...], and offered violence even unto nature it self? Judg. 17. 6. &. 18. 1. &. 19. 1. &. 21. 25. Thus if Order were taken away, soon would confusion follow, and every evill work, James. 3. 16. Nothing there ever can be imagined more remote either from [...]ght reason, or true religion, then to think that be­cause we were all once equal at our birth, and shall be again at our death, therefore we should be so in the whole course of our lives. In fine, a body would not be more monstrous and deformed without an Head, nor a ship more dangerous at Sea without a Pilot, nor a flock of sheep more ready to be devoured without a Shepheard, then would humane Society be without an Head, and Leader in time of danger, which in a difficult case the Glea­dites are forced to acknowledge, when they flee for refuge to Jep [...]hah, that mighty man of valour, to be their Captain and Head, to save them from the hand of the children of Ammon, whom a little before they had cast off, as an eye-sore and superfluous branch of their family, not worthy to enjoy any part of inheritance amongst his brethren.

The like must be acknowledged concerning the order of Administration, as hath been already said concerning the order of constitution, whither in the church or state. The order of Solomons houshould, was an astonishing sight to the Queen of Sheba, as well as the Wisdome of his other contrivements. [...]. King. 10. 5. The Apostle Paul rejoyceth to behold the order of the Church of the Colossians, as well as their Faith. The same Apostle gives a special direction to the Church of Corinth, that all things be done decently and in order, [...] alluding to the administration of Rule in an Army marshalled in its several ranks, under the wise conduct of skilfull Leaders, then which nothing can be more comely or comfortable to themselves, & terrible to their enemies. On this account it seems to be, that such severe [Page 11] Animadversions have been made upon all occasions on the violaters of Or­der, mark them that walk disorderly, saith Paul, 2. Thess. 3. 6. 11. and have no fellowship with them. And in another place, he wishes they were cut off that troubled them, no doubt by their disorderly acting. This is the first Com­mand with promise, so▪ the observation of the Order established by divine appointment, betwixt Superiours and Inferiours. No wonder therefore that when the people of Israel were ready, instead of punishing the disorder and rebellion of Corah, and his company, to countenance the business, God himself steps in to quiet the Tumult, and by Moses his mouth tells the present offenders, and in them all others of the like stamp, that at they would make an innovation in the camp, so he himself would make a new thing in the earth, that it should open its mouth, and at once, without any further tryal or delay, swallow down and devour those presumptuous offenders, that had attempted to violate the order God himself had so newly established in the Camp. Behold ye dispisers of order and Government, and wonder, that God whose glory it is to be stiled, long-suffering, Patient and slow to wrath, is so quick in punishing this sin, as to prevent any future hope of mercy be Repentance, to those so notorious breakers of Order. What were this but to Chaos the world again, and to make Instabilis terra, innabilis unda? God [...] therefore have after ages to read the greatness of this sin, in the dreadfulness of the punishment therof. The earth is not willing to bear offen­ders of this nature, as we may see by the instance of the old world, whose inhabitants when they fill the earth with violence, they are cut down out of time, and carried off he earth with a flood. Absalom that rebellious wretch, the earth is not willing to bear such a burthen: yea hell it self is as it were disqu [...]ed by them from beneath, For that Kingdome of darkness is not without its order, without which it could not subsist, as our Saviour argues, if Satan were divided against himself his Kingdome could not stand: And this is the first thing worthy our observation, in this excellent Platform of Polity. The second followeth which is,

2. The wisdome of their Conduct. Their Heads had such understanding of the times, as in know what Israel ought to do.

In a curious piece of Architecture that which first offers it self to the view of the beholder, is the beauty of the structure, the proportion that one piece bears to another, wherein the skill of the Architect most shews it self. But that which is most Admirable in sensitive and rational beings, is that in­ward principle, s [...]ated in some one part, able to gu [...]d the whole, and influ­ence all the rest of the parts, with an apt and regular motion, for their mu­tual good and safety. The wisdome of the Creatour was more [...] in the breath of life, breathed into the Nostrils of Adam, whereby he became a living soul, then in the feature and beauty of the goodly frame of his body. [Page 12] formed out of the dust, as the Poet speaks, Os homini sublime dedit—The Architect of that curious piece hath placed the Head in the fore-front, and highest sphear, where are lodged all the senses, as in a Watch-Tower, ready to be improved upon all occasions, for the safety and preservation of the whole. There are placed those that look out at the windows, to foresee evil and danger approaching, accordingly to alarm all the other inferiour powers, to take the signal and stand upon their guard for defence of the whole. There also is the seat of the Daughters of musick, ready to give audience to all reports and messages that come from abroad: if any thing should occurre or happen nearer home, or further off, imparting either [...] or evil, or hope of good; Their work is immediately to dispetch messages through the whole province of nature, to summon all the other Members together, to come in and yield their assistance to prevent the mischief feared, or prepare for the reception of the good promised, or pretended, as the na­ture of the case may require. Thus are all orders wont to be dispatched and issued from the Cinque ports of the senses in, and about the head, for the benefit and advantage of the whole body. Very fitly therefore in the body politick are the rulers by way of allusion called Heads. And in case of inability to discharge those functions, such societies may not undeservedly be compared to the Palmists Idols, that have eyes but see not, and have ears but hear not. Suppose the hands be never so strong for action, or the feet never so swift for motion, yet if there be not discretion in the head to dis­cerne, or judgement to determine what is meet to be done for the obviating of evil and danger, or procuring of good, it will be impossible to save such a body from ruine and destruction. If the Must be never so well streng­thened, and the Tackline [...] so well bound together, yet if there wants a skilful Pilot to Steer and Guide, especially in a rough and tempestuous Sea, the lame will soon take the prey, as it hapned a little before this time, in the Reign of Saul, when the Philistines had so often harressed that Country, and placed their Garisons in the very heart of the Land, and not long after, when in the days of Rehoboam, who had shields enough, some of Gold, with other weapons of War, many thousand stalls of Horses, with Horse­men proportionable to manage them, yet for want of wisdome and under­standing in the head of that rich and populous Kingdome, how soon is it be­come a prey to the first assaylant, as afterwards also in the dayes of Joash; when there was but a small company of the Syrians that came against him, a great Host was delivered into their hand, and all through that ill conduct of the Head of that Kingdome.

But by the way, here we are to mark, according to the sense of the words already given; under the wisdome of conduct, or understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, is necessarily comprehended piety [Page 13] before God, as well as prudence amongst men, according to the received, rule of Scripture Language and Phrase, where as Divines use to say, verba sensus denotant affectum cordis: therefore understanding to know Israels du­ty, requires a great deal of divine skill and spiritual wisdome attained by [...] in Gods promises, diligent reading of the precepts of his Law, fervent and frequent prayer for divine assistance, by which means David became wi­ser then his Teachers, yea, was accounted wise as the Angel of God to dis­cerne good and bad, and to know all things that were in the earth. It was by a special Law required of God that the King in Israel should have a copy of the divine: [...], written out (by his own hand, say some of the Rabbines) and [...] him, that he might read therein all the dayes of his life, Deut. 17. 19. [...]. that from thence he might receive direction how to govern his Kingdome, so that according to the excellent patern before us in the Text, it is requisite that the Heads and leaders of Israel, should be versed in Divine, as well as in humane Law. Therefore we find, that when Solomon, after he was advanced to be the chief Head and Leader of Israel, when he had his Option granted him of God, could not ask any thing so well pleasing to God, and so needful to himself, as wisdome, or an understanding heart to judge the Israel of God, and to discerne between good and bad. As herein had David his Father before him approved himself, as a meet Shepheard over the flock of God, in feeding of them according to the integrity of his heart, and guiding them by the skilfulness of his hands, Psal. 78. ult. That is he guided them by his counsel, and preserved them by his power, in which two branches is contained, the sum of a Rulers office. And though in many cases the rule is very plain and easie, and he that runs, as is said, may read what Israel ought to do; yet things may be oft times so circumstanced in Israel, that it is no easie matter to know what Israel ought to do: many times the right way [...]eth in a very narrow; the Channel may run between two dangerous, prec [...]p [...]ces on either side, so that a man who hath not great understanding, Incid [...]t in syllam volens vitare charybain. A Ruler may oft times run into one or more evils, and it may be great ones too, that intend­ed only: [...] [...]void some lesser one, yea sometimes he that resolves to keep the middle of the Channel, yet for want of insight and experience, not making allowance for emergent cases & difficulties, not easie to be foreseen, may be the setting of the Current be shipwracked on the opposite Shoar: (Sitem­pora, & rerum status it a circumvolvantur, ut administrandi ratio, cum illis consentiens, sit bona, faliciter omnia contingent; at si tempora et res ipsoe mutentur, peribit, qui in agendo rationem non mutat. As said that great Italian Polit [...]tian)

A fitter Instance of which dangerous errour cannot be given, then that of Josiah; who yet was one of the best Rulers that ever headed the Kingdome of Judah, for he, to prevent a lesser inconvenience of having his own King­dome [Page 14] (that lay between the two great Kings of Assyria and Egypt) made the seat and field of War, denies liberty to the Egyptian to pass through his Kingdome, and so opposing him in an hostile way, is overcome and slain, and his Kingdome spoiled by him: it proving the most fatal Battel that ever was fought by any of the Kings of Judah, and which made way to the final over­throw of the Kingdome, and following Captivity of the People. So great mischiefs oft times do attend the want of understanding to know what Is­rael ought to do. Rehoboam also and his people did both strangely ruine themselves by a contrary extream in this kind, in not understanding of the times to know what they ought to do, to avoid the danger which either of them feared. The King was afraid of being mated by his Subjects, puts on a garb of greater Majesty then was usual in his countenance and words, at that time, when a condescending carriage, with more mildness and gentle­ness had been more necessary, and in all probability, had saved both his Ho­nour and his Kingdome: on the other side, the people acted by the same fatal and precipitant counsels of rash and unadvised persons, to avoid the heavy yoke of the house of David, as they conceived, advanced one of the Servants of their former Kings, whose little finger proved indeed (as the other proudly speaks) heavier then the loyns of the two former Kings: for the Kingdome was not able to stand long under the weight thereof, but was soon crushed and ruined by the tyrany of the succeeding Kings of the ten Tribes. The consideration of such dangerous consequences, might obvi [...]e the heady and tumultuous humors of many, who upon the least discontent against their Rulers, for want of success, or the like, think of nothing less then of remo­ving them out of the World, or out of the Government at least, and sub­stituting others in their room, which if they should accomplish, possibly might intangle them in the like, or a worse mischief than that which they expected to be delivered from, as many have found by said experience. Oft doth the remedy prove worse then the disease. [...] plus mali venit a medica, quàm a morbo. As good to have to King in Israel as to anoint a Bramble over the rest of the Trees. In the present exigent before us in the Text; the case appeared difficult a good while. There was Abner the Captain of the Host of Israel, with the Son and Heir of the former King, engaged on the one side; David and a few of his Servants and followers on the other; yet to these that had understanding of those times, it doth at the last manifestly appear what Israel ought to do. Saul had outed himself of the Kingdome, by asking counsel of the Devil how to continue it in his fami­ly, who were therefore justly rejected of God; David was by a special man­date from God chosen to be King in his stead, which Ab [...]er and the Captains of the Host can readily acknowledge, when prejudice and self-interest is laid aside and Conscience but permitted to speak. The Kingdome belonged [Page 15] unto David, not only in regard of ability and fitness, but also in point of right and title, as being the person designed of God for them to choose; yet is it something long before the people are willing to understand it. Though wisdome be alwayes too high for a fool, as Solomon speaks, yet in the dark­est times that ever befel the Israel of God, they that will do the will of God may by inquiry, study and prayer come to know what it is. However it doth hereby appear of how great concernment it is, for the Heads in Israel to know what Israel ought to do, least otherwise they be drawn to do, that which in Israel ought not to be done. Gideon was a wise man, that judged Israel with great approbation of God and man, yet out of a superstitious conceit, will needs make an Ephod, which thing ought not to have been done in Israel, what followed? All Israel went a whoring after it, and so it became a snare to himself in his family, and to Israel also.

The body of a people are not much unlike the body of waters, which are not apt to move of themselves, if let alone in their own receptacle, but as they receive an impression from a forreign Element, or a power that is a­bove them: and things that are soft and flexible are susceptible of divers, yea contrary impressions. David by an insinuating and melting speech bowed the hearts of all the men of Israel as one man. They that have such interest in them, had need know what they ought to do, seeing they may make them do almost what pleaseth themselves that are their Rulers: for Absolom had bowed them as well as David, though it were the wrong way. All mens hearts are not in their own keeping, wise men can easily find keys that will open the Cabinet and take away the Treasure; for tis said, Absalom stole a­way the hearts of the men of Israel. Thus in things of the greatest mo­ment, it is easie for Princes, and Leaders, and Heads of the Tribes to draw them that are their bones and their flesh, as David speaks to be of their mind and to engage in their quarrel, be it right or wrong. Many Instances of the like kind may be given out of prophane as well as Sacred Hystory, for the sea of examples of this nature is withous bottome, whereby it will be found most evident, that those who are the Heads and Leaders of any people may easily engage, them in their own quarrels to their ruine and destruction, as often as otherwise.

Thus did Jeroboam, Ahah, Jehu and others perswade the people of Israel, after their own example, to embrace the abominable idolatry of the Calves which brought inevitable and fatal ruine upon the whole Kingdome of the ten Tribes, as well as upon their owne families. Cato was wont to say of the people of Rome, (and it is as true of any other sort of people) that they were like sheep, in that it was easier to drive or lead a whole flock or multi­tude of them, then any one single creature amongst them, By all which Considerations it is manifest that things are no where like, so successfully to [Page 16] be carryed on as where they who are concerned in the leading of Church or state, have such understanding of the times, as to know what Israel ought to doe.

3. The third thing considerable in this unparalleld pattern of civill poli­ty is the unity of their Counsels. That which in this juncture of affairs be­fore us in the text, was apprehended as most meet for Israel to doe, is by the joynt advice and counsel of the heads of this tribe propounded, and by the whole body of the people consented unto, and approved, such a rare pattern of unity is seldome found in our times. Let a body politick be ne­ver so well proportioned, as to its constitution, and form of government, & never so well furnished with wise and able men for its conduct and guidance, yet if the several members be not well tuned together, by a spirit of love and unity, there will never be any good harmony in their Administrations. Where the whole multitude is not of one heart, and of one mind, as was said of them in the Acts. Chap 4. 32. there will appear little beauty or strength, and no success in any of their motions. In the beautifull System of the world, which yet is compounded of sundry Elements, and those of differing qualityes one from the other, yet is there such a necessary and mutual con­nection between the parts, that they are all so firmly knit one to another, that it is altogether impossible to make any breach in their union: rather will those several bodies forget the propertyes of their own nature, then there shall be any Chasma or Vacuum amongst them, which would tend to a dissolution of the whole. Thus in the body politick, where it is animated with one entire spirit of love and unity, and setled upon lasting and sure foun­dations of quietness and peace, all the several members, must and will con­spire together to deny, or forbear the exercise of their own proper incli­nations, to preserve the union of the whole; that there be no Schisme in the body, as the Apostle speaks: Therefore where the higher bodyes in Church or state, cannot descend (and that of their own voluntary inclina­tion without forcible compulsion) and the lower and grosser ones cannot ascend up to meet the other, any man may easily read the destiny of such a society, It had been much better for Rehoboam to have denyed himself, and become the servant of his people, and subjects for that one day, rather then to have made them his enemies, if not his lords (for they were the greater Kingdome) for ever after. David was forced to yield to as much as that came to, if not something more, when he complains, the sons of [...] are too hard for him, rather then to make a breach between himself & his men of warr, in that difficult time, when himself was yet weak, and the Kingdome not firmly or fully setled in his hand. David was wise as an An­gel of God, to know what he had to doe; and doth not connive at their sin, although he doth for that time forbear to execute the punishment, leaving [Page 17] things to a more convenient season. Jerusalem, sayes the Psalmist, is buil­ded as a city that is compact together: when the parts of a building are so artificially framed one into another, that they are as it were cemented, and knit together by a vital spirit of love, the more weight is laid upon them, the firmer and stronger they grow: but where they are disjoynted, one part helps to weaken, and overthrow the other. Cyrus is said to have o­verthrown the impregnable city of Babylon, by drawing the great channel of Euphrates, into several small rivulets, which, had they continued in one main stream, he could never have done. It is not the storms and tempests, though never so boisterous, while they are on the outside, or upon the surface of the earth, that make any commotion therein, but the vapors that are insensibly gotten into its bowels, that make it quake and tremble. It is not the outward force and violence that ruines a commonwealth, so much as a spirit of division, and contention arising from jealousies, prejudices, & animosityes from within themselves, which doth most dangerously threaten, and most certainly foretell its destruction, as our Saviour himself speaks, an An house or Kingdome divided against it self cannot stand. The swift ships that are driven by the fierce winds, or carryed with the raging waves of the sea, yet so long as they who sit at their helmes are united, in their coun­sels and endeavours, most commonly do avoid the danger of ship-wrack, be­ing turned this or that way, upon occasion, at the will of the governour, but if they who are to manage them cannot agree amongst themselves, they may easily be emersed, and whole navies of them become but ludibrium Ven­torum. Unity of Counsell is one of the chief foundations of civill Polity: But if the foundations be dissolved, what can the righteous doe? but mourn in secret, when they foresee, but cannot prevent the miseryes that are coming upon a factious, divided and self-destroying people. It was a sad time in Is­rael when one half of the people followed Tib [...] the son of Ginath; the o­ther half followed O [...]; whence might necessarily be inferred the destructi­on of one side or of the other, as soon after came to pass in that people. Or else my endanger the ruine of the whole, as too often hath been seen in the world, that when lesser societyes have been divided amongst themselves, they have but the sooner become a prey to a stronger power. Which if it had not been experienced in most of the states, and societyes of the Christi­an world, and in all the latter, as well as ancient revolutions of the nations, where any order of Government, either civill or ecclesiastical hath been esta­blished, might have been exemplifyed by particular instances. Foelix quem faciunt &c. happy are they that can take warning by the harms they have observed in preceding times. Such divisions, especially in the Church of God, are in a great measure to be ascribed to the policy of Satan, who en­deavours by all wayes and meanes to foment divisions, amongst those of the [Page 18] Church, by that course to ruine them, while in the mean time, he provides for the quiet of his own Kingdome, the world, God also may be said to do it, being provoked by the pride and tyranny, with other wickedness of the sons of men, judicially to mingle a perverse spirit in the midst of a nation, & suffer­ing their princes to be deceived, and to deceive their people, as the prophet speaks of Egypt. Isa. 19. 13, 14. Causing them to erre in every work thereof as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit. But the meritorious and procu­ring cause of those ruinous and destructive counsells arises from the weak­ness or wickedness of a people themselves: It being observed as one of the blessings God was pleased to cast in to some heathen states, as a reward of their wisdome and prudence, with other moral virtues, viz. their long peace, and flourishing prosperity upon the earth. It is much to consider, that all Asia can agree together in the worship of a Diana, and the Image that fell down from Jupiter, while one single Church in the city of Corinth cannot long hold together in the worship of the true God, nor retain the rites of his worship, and the me regular use of the sacred bodyes of love and unity, without such shamefull divisions, and scandalous breaches, as they are sharply rebuked for by the Apostle, in both his Epistles to that Church, im­puting the root of those divisions to the lusts of the flesh, Are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Cor. 3. 3.

But this being a matter of so great concernment for the good and welfare of Societyes whither Christian of civill, it may not be amiss to enquire into the true grounds and seasons of such Unity, or the way how it may be brought about. The first and principal is, a clear discovery of the right way of their peace and prosperity, it being taken for granted, that this is, or ought to be the end that all Societyes generally ayme at, sc. a quiet pos­session of what they already have, with enlargement of their prosperity, if attainable, But if there be no agreement in the meanes that seem most di­rectly to tend to that end, but that apprehensions are divided about that, they may be as much divided for ever: For at this time, and a little before, the Israelites were taken with a fond desire of a Kingly Government, yet not being at an agreement amongst themselves about the person, or the man­ner of his Goverment, they were divided into factions till their mind by sad experience came to be convinced, that David was the person, not only called, but qualified of God for that great service. which Amasa expresses in the name of the rest of the Tribes, Thine are we David, and on thy side thou [...]on of Jesse; so that nothing can be supposed more directly to tend to the creating and maintaining, unity in the counsells and affections of a people, then cleer convincing light, and a demonstrative evidence, that what is pro­pounded, is the direct and proper meanes to bring about the end generally aymed at; otherwise, it will be said Soinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus [Page 19] The poor man by his wisdome, saith Solomon, delivered the city. And the wise woman of Abel saved the city by propounding so meet an expedient, as gained acceptance in all apprehensions. Otherwise it may fall out as Solo­mon-saith, Ec. 10. 15. the labour of the foolish wearyeth every one of them, for they know not how to find the way to the city. Where wisdome is wanting to direct mens actions, labour will be endless, & the issue mischief, or disappointment at the best. When once the people of Rome were ready to mutiny upon a quar­rel that fell out between the Citizens of the higher, and those of the lower ranke, Menippus healed the breach by a wise Apologus of the contention be­tween the b [...]ily, and the members in the body natural, which carryed such a convincing evidence along with it, that all partyes at variance were soon a­greed about the way of their own welfare. The like wise medium was pro­pounded by Jotham, in the ninth of Judges, but it could not be attended, be­cause God had sent an evill spirit amongst them, as the text there speaks.

2. The mutual interest that the members of the same Society have in the affections of each other, gives great advantage to promote this Unity, if duly considered. There was no small argument in the words of Abram used to Lot, Let not us fall out, for we are Brethren. Nature leaves a strange instinct upon those of the same kind, even amongst the [...] creatures to defend one another, and to revenge the injury done to their owne kind: such incli­nations use to work more strongly with those that are endued with reason. The joynt interest of people in the same family, nation or religion, tends much this way: Joab could not have used a more pathetical argument to his brother Ab [...]shai, then the mention of [our people, and the cityes of our God] whereby to engage him to magnanimous combate with the common enemy; as also the promise of mutual assistance each to other, and no doubt the preceding exhortation to magnanimity took the firmer hold on either of their hearts, to consider their neer relation each to other. David enga­ges much on this account. For my Brethren and Companions sake, I will now say peace be within thee, Psal. 122. 8. On the other hand, when the minds of persons are either leavened with pride, or discontented, or their spirits im­bittered with Jealousies or prejudices against each other, it cannot but much hinder this desired Unity. When the envy of Ephraim, and the vexing of Judah shall cease one toward another Isa 11. 13. they may the more easily subdue all other of their enemies.

3. This comes to pass by the prudent and condescending behaviour of those that are leaders of others, who by their discreet behaviour may doe much to maintain Love and unity in Societyes, for want of which oft times it is miserably lost. The soft answer pacifieth wrath, and the soft tongue breaketh the bone, saith Solomon. Gideon by a mild and gentle answer prevented a quarrel betwixt him and the Ephraemites, which afterwards upon the like [Page 20] occasion brake forth into a bloudy wa [...]r, in the dayes of Jep [...]ah. David bowed the hearts of all the men of Israel as one man, by an insinuating speech as by his discreet behaviour in former times he won the hearts of all Souls servants, not withstanding that inveterate prejudice, envy and malice of their master against him. Duro con duro non sat bon muro, say the Italians; a firm wall will not be made up of hard stones, without the mixture of some more yielding matter to cement them together. That may easily be drawn by love, that will not be driven by a mighty force. The rigor of a Command may be much sweetned by the gentleness of the expression. Paul, though now the aged, will rather for loves sake beseech, or intreat a favour of Philemon, then enjoyne a duty. Moses his calling the Israelites Rebells, was more like to increase the Rebellion of their wills against God, then any way alter that evill disposition of their minds. Jobs peremptory adjuring of David, al­though in that exigent, it gained the present end he aimed at, yet it for ever after lost his interest in his Sovereigns heart, the harshness of the words be­ing harder to be digested then the matter contained in them. Many times also the difficulty of a message is much sweetned by the courteous disposition of them that bring it, as the third messenger sent by the king of Israel to Elijah, seems to find by experience. Rehoboams yoke had not seemed so intollerable, if it had with more gentle words been imposed; wherefore fol­lowing kings chuse rather to express their non-assent to the demands of their subject, by an Adviserable Roy, then by an harsh and absolute refusal. When Themistocles once told the Adriens, to whom he was sent to demand tribute, that he would bring two mighty Gods to overcome them, Love and Eloquence, it was replyed to him, that they had two mighter then they, sc Po­verty and impossibility, or else very probably the other might easily have prevailed. This way of procuring unity and peace is as much seen in mat­ters of Religion, as in things of another nature, where as a late Author truly saith, by passionate, hot and eager Disputes peace is alwayes lost, and truth is seldome or never found.

4. In the fourth and last place, This is brought about by the influence and assistance of Divine Grace, so disposing the wills and affections of men that unity and peace are thereby both procured and preserved. For if God be provoked to send an evil Spirit, as he did betwixt the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo, the wisest Counsels shall not prevail, is at that time was delivered them by Jotham a very fage Apologus, yet it could not prevent that wicked conspiracy between the men of Shechem, and Ab melech, for God had purposed by that means to punish them both, so that a mutual fire is kin­dled, whereby the men of Shechem & the house of Millo are devoured; one by another: when a mans ways please the Lord, his very Enemies shall be at peace with him, much more easie it is to expect that such may obtain peace one with [Page 21] another when God is stiled the God of love and peace, it is therein implyed not only that he is the approver of those Blessings, but the Author and Gi­ver of them. It was prophecied of Solomons Reign, that there should be an abundance of Peace, and so it was fulfilled, till God stird him up Adver­saries, which put an end to his peace: So as if God will give a Commission to any Instruments, to take away peace from this or that part of the Earth, it may not be expected, to continue longer there; for he will either mingle a perverse spirit amongst their Counsellors, as was threatned to Egypt, or hide the Counsels of peace from the eyes of the People, or their Leaders, whence they may be dashed together to their mutual destruction and ruine.

4. The fourth and last thing considerable in this exact pattern of a civil state, is the height of their courage and resolution. It is a sign of great prosperity and success in any enterprises, when the Brethren are valiant and resolute in the execution, as their Leaders are wise in their conduct. That obedience to the commands of their Superiours, is intended in a great measure, in the Text, I deny not, but what might be required here of that nature, may be gathered from what was said under the Head of order, treat­ed of in the first place. In this place therefore I shall confine my self, only to that of their courage and resolution, which though in the last place to be spoken to, yet is not the least thing considerable in a flourishing state: for o­therwise through the cowardize and slothfulness of a people with other vi­ces attending thereon, after ages may easily lose all that riches, wealth and honour, which the wisdome and valour of the preceding have obtained: as may be seen in the dayes of the Judges that succeeded Joshuah, and of the Kings that succeeded David and Solomon. Hyram concludes the prosperity of Israel from the wisdome of David, and Solomon his successour; to be sure, when wise Leaders are attended with valiant people, it is easie to fore­tell the prosperity of such a nation. The very name of David and his migh­ty men that were with him, though weary and weak-handed (as Achicophel wisely suggested) was enough to fright Absolom and all the men of Israel from pu [...]suing their advantage: I shall here therefore take occasion to dis­course somewhat of that eminent vertue, so necessary for the flourishing of a people, disposed into a well ordered polity. Valour is an inward virtue of the minde enabling us to persist in our duty not withstanding the difficulty or danger thereof. They are not a little mistaken, that think nothing is requi­red to valour, but a daring confidence to fight. ut non poena martyrem, sie nec pugna fortem, sed causa facit. It is a lawful striving as the Apostle tells us, that deserves the Garland, we must know therefore, that there are four in­gredients necessary to the constitutioo of a valiant minde.

1. The first is magnanimity, or greatness of mind, when the Spirit is rai­sed to such a degree of courage, as not to stoop to low, and mean things [Page 22] though it should be to compass some seeming great adventage. [...] was the commendation of the worthies of God, that they accepted not of deliverance, st. upon low and base terms, which may be imposed by Adversaries. Paul will rather dy then make his glorying void: a valiant mind will rather lay down his life then keep it upon dishonourable terms. If the men of Jabesh­Gilead, or Ahab afterwards, had accepted of their lives or peace, upon the ignominious tearms offered by the supposed Conquerer, it had been a thing unworthy of the Israel of God. Nor will Nehemiah lose his honour, as he was Governour, by fleeing to save his life in an hiding place of security. So neither doth Christian humility require a man to stoop to any thing, un­becoming his Faith and Profession. Paul that can yield to any thing for the honour of God, and good of others, yet will yield to nothing, nor give place for an house to them that will lay a snare for their liberty. And in another case of a civil nature, the same Apostle, although no Souldier, but of Christ Jesus, stands upon his honour, and the priviledge of his freedome, when he is not fairly treated according to the dignity of a Roman. Is it lawful to scourge a Rom [...]n? such was Pauls humility as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, that he can be content to receive forty stripes of his own Nation, yet hath so much magnanimity that he will not yield to receive one of an Hea­then, where he hath a civil right to plead an exemption. Such magnanimity becomes the Israel of God, as was said of Gideons Brethren, that each one should resemble the Children of a King. If it be said, that in such a case a man can do no other good, then to shew his will; it may be said, in magnis voluisse sat est, in matters of great moment, it is enough if a man shews but the resolution of his mind.

2. A second ingredient, is Confidence or boldness, not to be afraid of the danger or evil supposed, though it should be death it self. It seemed Joab and Ab [...]er were followed with valiant men, when they can so readily lay down their lives, at the command of their Captains. The Righ­teous are bold as a Lyon, saith Solomon, not afraid of danger, though ne­ver so great, either felt or feared. David will not be afraid though an Host should encamp against him, Psal. 27. 3. Fear is an embondaging affection but the true Israel of God are called unto liberty; therefore it becomes not them through the fear of death to be subject unto bondage: it was a nota­ble spirit of valour that discovered it self in that English Captain, under his King in France, who being sent to discover the Enemies Camp, and his num­bers, was no whit discouraged (by the great disproportion that might be observed betwixt themselves and the enemy) but returned this answer, That there was a very great many of them, enough to kill, enough to take Prisoners, and enough to run away besides, all which came to pass soon af­ter, according to his confident presage. There hath been an extraordinary [Page 23] spirit of Courage, that some of Gods people have been endued withal, when Gods Spirit was said to come upon them, as upon Samp­son, Judg. 14. 15. when he met a Lyon, and Judg. 15. 14. 8. when he smote the Philistines hip and thigh, and David, when he engaged with Goliah, or Jonathan and his Armor-bearer engaging against the Philistines, and undertaking a whole Garrison of them at once. Thus when the Spirit of God doth in any eminent manner excite and stir up, or actuate that innate valour of their minds, they are and will be enabled to do great things. Many a mans courage would serve him to fight very valiantly were he but assured to come off with victory or success, at least without loss of life: but true valour argues such a confidence of mind, as enables a man to look Death in the face in cold blood, as we use to say, and not to be daunt­ed with the countenance of that King of Terrour. As was seen in Joab, 2 Sam. 10. 12. who is resolved to behave himself valiantly, leaving the issue and suc­cess to God, to do what should seem good in his sight. Why should not every true Israelite having the same cause, the same spirit of Faith, the same promises, have experience of the same courage and confidence of minde in their measure.

3. In the third place, Patience is also requisite, enabling them quietly to bear with all the evils they may meet with by reason of the diuturnity of the Act. If thou faint in the day of adversity, faith Solomon, Prov. 24. 10. thy strength is but small. It is observable, that God never brought about any great matter of moment, for the salvation of his people, but he calld the In­struments therein to the exercise of great patience before it were accom­plished; so that in their experiences, they must say, Qui cupit optatam oursu—Multa tulit fecito; &c. At Israels first coming out of Egypt, God would not carry them by the way of the Spyes, though that was nigh, (a Journey of a few dayes) lest they should faint and be discouraged when they see war. And as afterward God would try Gideons Army, before he would call them forth to war; for when that Generation that came out of Egypt upon tryal, manifested such untractibleness and impatience under the hazard and difficulties of war, God saw meet to lay them wholly aside, and train up their posterity by degrees to inure and accustome them to bear the difficulties and hazards thereof. Amongst Davids small number that fol­lowed him while he was at Ziglag, one third part tis said, was so faint, that they could not go over the Brook Bezor, but they were not denied their e­qual proportion in the spoile, which shewd their tarrying behind proceeded not from the want of valour in their minds, but from weakness in their bo­dies, which are but jumenta, or vehicula animorum: so that patience under evil, is very necessary for a Souldier.

4. In the last place Perseverance, whereby we endure unto the end. This [Page 24] is a law in the civil as well as spiritual combate, that there must be holding out to the end, without which the Crown is not to be expected. It was one part of the Sacr [...]entum militare, by which the Roman Souldiers were wont to be listed of old, not only that they should not be unwilling to dye for the Common-wealth, and engage to do whatever their Emperour should com­mand, but that they should never forsake the Camp while there was need of their service. And to this principle was all their success in their Wars to be ascribed: that they were unwearied therein, of whom it was truly said, that though they were sapius in proelio, unnquam in bello victi; though they lost many Battels, yet their valour was so great, that they would never yield to adversity. Moses will not allow the two Tribes and an half to fit still after their own inheritance was cleared of the Enemy, till they had also helped to put their Brethren into the possession of theirs, Numb. 32. 6. And in the 78 Psalm, the Psalmist complains of the Children of Ephraim, that they turned back in the day of Battel, like a broken bow. A true spirit of valour will alwayes stand bent to the same mark, not deceiving those that trust thereun­to. The courage of Davids mind held good after his body grew faint and weak, whereby we see that perseverance is the property of a valiant minde, as well as confidence or patience.

Application. These four Considerations premised, offer a seasonable word of Advice to every one that is come hither this day. As John the Bap­tist was furnished from that measure of heavenly wisdome he was endued with, to give a satisfying answer to several that came to him with this questi­on, What shall we do? Luke. 3. ver. 10, 12, 14. So may any wise Scribe in­structed to the Kingdome of God, from this text be supplyed to give an an­swer to every person here present, and met together upon this solemn occa­sion, that shall enquire, what they shall doe, in reference to the business be­fore us: I presume there is none here present, but will be found in one of these three capacityes, either of an Elector, or one elected, or a Subject un­der the charge of those who are like to be continued in, or chosen to the office of an Head or Ruler in this our tribe. each one may from the premises, hear something spoken unto him in the language of that Capacity wherein he stands before the Lord this day.

For order sake, I shall in the first place address my self to speak unto you that are met here as Electors. There was joy in Israel when the Tribes were now met together to establish the Kingdome in the hands of David, as is said in the last verse of this Chapter. By proportion this day was wont to be a joyfull day unto us, being as it were the solemnizing of the Birth-day of our little State, the renewall of our Goverment, with all our civill priviledg­es. The Advice I shall present you with at this time is by way of Caution in the words of the Apostle, Gal. 5. 13. You are now called to the exercise [Page 25] of your civill Liberty (wherein [...] of your other libertyes are bound up) Use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love to serve one another. Those that doe but seriously consider, how much the honour of God, as well as their own good and welfare is concerned in the regular, and conscientious proceeding in this business of Election, cannot but have a solemn awe upon their hearts in this work, and judge that the putting a So­lemnity upon the grandeur of the day, is the least part of the service thereof. I might here minde you, that although it uses to be accounted [...] the highest civill priviledges a people can enjoy, to have the liberty to choose their owne Rulers, and not to be imposed upon in that kinde; yet if this matter be not carefully looke unto, so as to be both prudently and consci­enciously carryed on, it may become an occasion of the greatest bondage; as had been too sadly verefied almost in all the elective states and kingdoms in the world. The fatal instance of Absalom makes it appear, how [...]asie a matter it is to court a well meaning people into such a false conceit of liberty, as may end in the ruine both of Electors and Elected. As was seen in the person forementioned, as in Abimeloch and his Tribe long before. For they were upon the Election of a King. Certainly if they were accounted cursed deceivers, that having a male in their flock, shall vow and offer to the Lord a corrupt thing. Mal 1. 14. what may we think of them this being called live often of their Brethren with the supream po­wer of Rule & Government, (an act of the highest service for the glory of God & good of men) shall be so far swayed with [...]action or prejudice, or byassed with self interest, or other corrupt ends, as to choose persons to such a service, as are neither approved of God, nor acceptable to wise men; or in their choise to overlook & lay aside those that are, I mean not to attend the directions given by God himself, Exod. 18 27. Able men fearing God &c. Yea it is expresly commanded them, Deut. 17. 15. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall chuse: whom is God said to chuse, but those whom he hath not only called but [...] for such office by the gifts of wisdome and grace, which were wont to be signified by the holy oyle used to be powred on them. God doth in these dayes mediately seem to point at such to rule as he was wont of old immediately to [...] forth to such service. What ever strange concurrence might be ob­served at the person of Saul, between the rashness of the people to inforcing Samuel to the present choyce of a king, and the rashness of the king in most of his enterprises (which proved a bad Omen from his first anoynting) whereby [...] the ruined himself, and many of his people) yet was he fur­nished with extraordinary gifts, as soon as he was called to the exercise of his government. It may still be expected in a true sence, that a divine Sen­tence should be in the mouth of the King, and Ruler in Israel. [Page 26] I will not here ingage in any dispute whither it it be either necessary, or con­venient for a free people to use their liberty in oft changing their Magistrates or chief Rulers. Concerning inferiour Officers, such as are Fiscalls & Trea­surers, whose places (by reason of the profit they usually are attended with) are more liable to temptation & corruption, there is no matter of danger in their charge. Wise Hannibal, while he was Pretor at Carthage, got an Act from the Senate for the changing of such great Officers every year, having observed how ready they were all to hold together to the obstruct on of justice, and oppression of the people. But for the supream Rulers, of whom one sayes well, that [...] cor Reipublioe, quod mutare non expedit, i. e. that being is the heart and vitals of the Common-wealth, it is not expedient to run an h [...]zza [...]d in often changing of them. Another speaks to the same purpose, That unless a Countrey be very full of skilfull and expert men, by often changing their Rulers, the Goverment will fall into the hands of rude and ignorant Mechanicks. But where the wisdome of any Countrey hath by long experience, seen cause to continue the same Rulers, they had need be well advised, that should promote any innova [...]o, especially in any diffi­cult Juncture of affairs: It cannot but be dangerous to put the helm into the hands of an unexperienced Pilot in a tempestuous or stormy season. In such cases it is most an end found true, as the Spaniards say, the evill that is present, is better then the good that is to come. for so many times a small inconvenience and infirmity, is charged into an unsufferable evill. The people of Israel, no doubt would soon have found the little singer of Ab­soloms vices, heavier then the loynes of all Davids infirmityes. It was good Counsell which a wise man of Capua once gave his fellow Citizens, that be­fore they cut off the old Senators, they should find new ones that were bet­ter to place in their room, which when upon tryal they were not able to doe, they were easily perswaded to continue the former in place. Let wis­dome and knowledge be found in our Electors, as well as in our elected Ru­lers, and that will be the stability of our times, and the strength of Salvation. Our Election is the foundation of our Government. A small and inconside­rable error in the Foundation, may put the whole Building much out of or­der. As in the body natural, a defect in the first concection is seldome help­ed by the second, so will it be found in the body politick. And in all ages, such as are the Rulers, such will be the people both in Church and state. Therefore how doth it concern those that have an oppertunity in their hands, not only to keep it, but to improve it and manage it aright, for the upholding and maintaining good order and discipline, both in Church and State; For if I mistake no, any man may make both a true prognostick, & diagnostick of the athletick State of your people, through the whole order of your Goverment, both eccleastical and civill, by your Elections, and the [Page 27] quality of the persons you chuse into places of trust, be they Superiours or Inferiours; in things sacred as well as civill.

I am bold to speak the more on this hand, that I might imprint upon all your minds, that are any way concerned in Election, a conscientious care of your duty, and faithfull discharge of the trust committed to you. It was one of the last requests that Moses made unto the God of the Spirits of all flesh, just as he was ready to resign up his charge, that a man might be set over the Congregation, which might both goe in and out before them, that the Congregation of the Lord be not as sheep that have no sheheard, Num. 17. 16, 17. Lest they should thereby be left to wander every one af­ter his owne immagination, and so degenerate into corrupt and foolish wayes to their owne destruction. I am not ignorant that the lot of this dayes Election is in a great part cast into the lap, the disposal thereof from the Lord we expect to know by and by: but I speak for the future, and in way of caution to take heed to our Elections, for our (All) depends upon it. It was a sad presage of evill times approaching upon Jerusalem, when the people were driven to such miserable shifts, as to shrowd them­themselves under the skins of unmeet persons, only for the sake of meat and clothing. Isai. 3. 6, 7. for they are the things left requisite in him who is called to be an Healer, A poor and wise child, is better then an old and foolish King, saith Solomon, Eccless 4. 12. And for a man to be put into the Priests office, not qualified thereunto, only to eat a morsel of bread, may prove a curse to the place, and people, as well as to that person, as was pronounced against the Family of Eli, 1. Sam. 2. 36.

If any should here expect that a character should here be given, how to judge of such men as may be accounted meet to be heads or leaders of Israel, the text is a full description, such as have understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to doe, and they who are such doe discover themselves, or may be distinguished from others by these qualifications.

1. The fear of the Lord, and the love of Righteousness. The fear of the Lord is the beginning or chief part of wisdome as the text tells us. He that is not wise for himself or for his owne soul, will never be wise for the com­mon wealth. They, that are not of Israel, will not much care to know what Israel ought to doe. David that was a companion of them that fear the Lord, is easily induced to seek he good of all such, Psal. 122 8. What Plato said of Philosophers, we may say of the men that fear God, (which is the best wisdome) who wished that they were the only kings, or that kings were only such. David, owned by God himself to be a man af­ter his own heart, was the standard by which his Successors were mea­sured: amongst whom you will find, that to doe that which was right, was rather a diminution then otherwise, unless it could be added, with a perfect [Page 28] heart, as did David his father. So, as to know or doe that which is right, unless it were out of integrity of their hearts, and conformity to the mind of God, doth not in Gods account denominate a man wise or one that knows what Israel ought to do. God may make use of the common gifts of the [...] or natural endowments of men unsanctifyed for the good of his people & of­ten doth when the Goverment is by providence unavoid by devolved upon them, but it may be questioned, whether a people can expect a blessing under Rulers of their own voluntary choyce, whose prey may upon certain & good grounds be suspected, or denied, whatever their other qualifications may be.

2. Humane Learning in conjunction with the former. Such as by the benefit of natural parts Experience, Education, and study, have advantage above others to be acquainted with the affairs of the world abroad, as well as with the Laws and Customes of their own people at home. For seing persons of that alloy have generally the chief managing of affairs in other Nations, as much of that as may be [...], cannot but be necessary for the better ordering the affairs of Israel. It was no doubt some advantage to the officers of Hezekiah, in their treating the messengers of the Assyrian, that they understood the Syrian tongue as well as their owne. It may be presumed that no man, unless a Weigelian Sceptick, ever did account Moses less fit to be a Leader unto Israel because he was learned in all the wisdome of the Egyptians, a man mighty in words and in deeds. Nor Paul the less fit to be an Apostle, because he spake with tongues more than all the rest of the Apostles. Yea it appears that upon that account he is called a chosen Vessel, the better qualifyed to be a Doctor to the Gentiles. And if Jeptah had not had understanding of the times, sc. the knowledge of things done in forepassed times, as well as in the present, it may well be questioned whi­ther he had been so fit to have been an head of the Gleadites as afterward he proved: if he had not been able to have disputed with arguments of reason, as well as weapons of warr, he could not have managed the quarrel so successfully as he did. The chief Leaders of Israel before the Kings, were called Judges, a potiori parte; though the chief part of their work usually was to be Captains of their warrs, yet they received their title from their power of Judging, which certainly required skill and knowledge of the Lawes, by which they were to judge, which how well it could be attained without help of humane learning I doe not understand. It was well re­plyed by an officer of State to a Nobleman, that made small account of lear­ning in the education of his son, (aiming at no higher learning then to be a­ble to ride an horse, or fly an hawks) that if it were so, then Noble mens Sons must be [...] that mean mens children should govern the Kingdom.

3. Constancy or readiness is another property of a wise man; at least of one fit to be a Leader of others. Not but that a wise man may sometimes [Page 29] change his mind, and his wisdome may lead him so to do. Sometimes we say, [...], but to be of a fickle, unconstant minde, is the character of one, a Jacob said to Reube [...], that will never excel: He is [...] as Water, which is, neither easie to be kept in any bounds, nor ob­servant of one constant motion, but apt to change upon every occasion. In­stability in our wayes, is an argument both of want of faithfulness before men and of sincerity before God. Homo quadratus is the [...] to manage a trust: that is the figure that stands surest; wise men that act upon prin­ciples, are like all House built upon a foundation that will not turn aside by a sudden and violent storm. S [...]eptical men, none knows where to have them, they will not be bound to be of the same mind on this morning, that they were of on the last night: Solomon therefore advises to fear God and the King, and not to meddle with them that are given to change, Prov. 24. 21. These are Inqui [...]ta Ingenia of Quick silver tempers, that are never quiet in any place, yet would alwayes be upper most, which are observed to be the most dangerous in any state. A wise man alwayes [...] by the same Com­pass, though not alwayes by the same wind. Particular actions may be changed upon occasion, though the same mark be still aimed at.

Moderation is another property of wisdome, for if peace and truth be the best end, that all ought to aime at moderate and pacifick wayes and prin­ciples, that run not in extreams, are certainly the directed wayes that lead thereunto. Therefore it is observed that men of moderate and peaceable tempers, are both the wisest, and most useful men in all Societies, Extreams are alwayes dangerous: for as the Philosopher sayes of virtue, that it lie, in the middle between two vices, as the extreams are opposites on either hand, so may truth generally be found in the middle between two Errors. Some men think they can never run far enough from that they hate, whereas wise­men can see as dangerous a precipice of error before them as that which they left behind them. This is too too evident in most of the controversies which have been bandyed for, and against in our times. In most of which he that hath taken the least view of the managing of such controversies, will finde that men of rigid and severe spirits, have missed both of peace and truth, the designe of all good and wise men. Thus did the Donatists in A­frica, and the Novatians about Rome of old, who separated from all other Christians, save those of their own perswasion till as last, there were none left either to joyn with or separate from the spinning of thread too fine, doth but draw the wool beyond the staple, and will never hold in the weaving. Thus hath it been found in these last dayes of Reformation, the Religion of many proving like precious Liquor, too often distilled, till at last all evapo­rates into meer fume: some that could not be content to keep company with their honest minded Brethren, in the middle K [...]gion of revealed Truth, [Page 30] (the most wholsome practical points of Doctrine) have soared so high aloft that they have as well lost themselves, as those they pretended conscience to depart from, whose root is rottenness, and their blossome gone up as dust, as the Prophet speaks, Isai. 5. 24. The Apostle Paul gives this caution to the Romans, to be wise to sobriety [...] which words have an elegancy in the Greek, not easie to be exprest in our Language. Rom. 12. 3.

Pareus observes in his time, that they who did nimiune [...] sectari, did more hurt then good in the Reformation of the Church, Matth. 23.

It is that which highly commended the wisdome of Basilius Magnus in those times of controversie, in which his Lot did fall, that his moderation lead him to abstain from some expressions in the controversies then stirring (with great freedome and boldness used by others) that he might not be the envy of words and phrases, draw upon himself, and in him upon the Church of God, an inevitable, and unnecessary danger. As a great Divine of ours notes out of Gregory Nazian. ‘If the like wisdome and Modera­tion had been observed in those that earnestly contend for truth, so as not to load the truth they maintain with hard & severe (though it may be true) expressions, that beget more obstinacy in the Adversaries, and it may be suspition in the weak, or unresolved looker on, differences amongst men might be more soberly composed and the truth with more assurance en­tertained, Dr. R. on Psal. 110. P 372.’

The words of the wise saith Solomon are heard in quiet, more then the cry of him that ruleth among fools, i. e. A wise man that speaks without cla­mour, noyse or contention gains more credit to his words by the weight of the matter, then another can do by the obstreperous noise and loud sound they are wont to be uttered withal.

The like wisdome doth moderation discover in things of a civil nature; where many times the rigorous exaction of the strict letter of the rule of Justice, proves unjust in the issue, and most unprofitable to the Cumini sectar himself, or his instruments. According to the usual saying, summum jusest summa injuria. The Duke of Burgundy began a quarrel with the Switz [...]rs a­bout the Toll of a load of Calve-skins, wherein he lost his life, and all his treasure.

5. Peaceableness is another property of Wisdome which ought to be esteemed by the tendency it hath toward the obtaining the great end, that all ought to aym at, sc. the honour of God, and good of Societies, which is much more promoted by peace, then by the proceeding of force. The Wo­man of Abel whom the Scripture commends for her wisdome, discovered her wisdome by her peaceable Counsel. The poor wise man saved the City, by wise counsel, not by weapons of War, Eccles. 9. 15 when a great King [Page 31] came against it, besieged it, built Bulwarks against it. There is nothing more easie then to beg [...]n a War, as nothing more difficult then to manage it aright, or bring it to [...] issue: therefore is peace in a wise mans eye a rich booty. Contention saith Solomon, is like the breaking forth of water, therefore his advice is, to leave off before it be medled with, Prov. 17. 14 D lc b [...]llum in­expertis, is a true saying, i. e. War uses to be welcome to none, but those that never made [...] thereof, as I fear New England may find by woful experi­ence, which will leave a reflection of the deeper guilt, if any have had any needless hand in the inviting of such an unwelcome guest into the Country. But I judge [...] of the present Auditors, and dare not censure others

It was the spirit of David, one wise as the Angel of God, and no mean Warriour neither. I am for peace, but when I speak they are for War, Psal 120. 7. It seemed then David used not Wars but when necessity forced him thereunto.

In matters of Religion, who is it that gains by Contention: it is the duty of every Christian to contend for the Faith once delivered to the Saints, but they ought [...] as the Apostle speaks, Eph. 4. 15. least other­wise the loss of lo [...]e is more matter of grief then the truth we suppose we have gained is matter of rejoycing, like them that angle for small fish with a golden Hook. Not that any truth of God ought upon any pretence to be under valued, nor any precept of God be counted little, but every thing is beautiful in his season, where the urging of some truth of less moment, may certainly endanger the breach of peace, which is a greater good, I know not, but it might with more acceptation have been for born, for we know our Saviour Christ did not, nor the Apostles after him, at every season declare such Truths, as the Hearers were not capable to receive.

For all necessary and fundamental Truths, we cannot be too resolved in Contention for them: But for Opinions of less certainty and moment, where wise and good men have alwayes needed a latitude, wherein to differ and turn aside one from the other, it can be no part of wisdome to be too eager or rigorous about them, some with the Disciples, Luke 9. 54, 55 are ready to think he deserves no less then to be destroyed by fire from Heaven, if he follows not them, whom yet our Saviour justly reproves for giving too much way to their own Spirits.

6. Condescension, may in the next place be added, as another property of Wisdome. Humility, the ground of condescension is nearly allyed to wisdome, both are the procreant causes of great Blessings to the Sons of men, Prov. 22. 4. The wisdome that is from above is gentle, easie to be en­treated. No man ever thought that Abraham was the less wise, because more willing to yield in the controversie between him and Lot. Those parts of the natural body that are the most yielding are the stronger and most [Page 32] useful, were all the other members of our body as hard, and as stiff as the Bones, how uncomfortable would our Actions and motions be. If any finde it better to break then bow, they may thereby gain some reputation for their wilfulness but not for their wisdome.

This must alwayes be understood of things lawful and expedient to be yielded to, else Moses the meekest man upon Earth, will not bate an hoof, nor Paul the most humble of all Christians, will not yield, or give place for an hour; both which in other cases could deny themselves, and yield very far.

7. Deliberation, is the last property of Wisdome which I need mention, it can hardly be thought to consist with Wisdome to do any thing rashly in matters of moment. Temerity of Counsels argues rather height of folly and pride then depth of wisdome; for in so doing, we should lay aside Rea­son, our most faithful and best Councellour, and commit our affairs into the hands of passion and affection, or worse, cum res transit in affectum, perit omne judicium; they loose their wisdome, that suffer themselves to be trans­ported with passion. Deliberandum aiu, quod semel statuendum, it had need be a long time deliberated upon, that is to be appointed for ever after. For although our statutes be not unalterable, like those of the Medes and Persi­ans, yet that which is maturely agreed upon at the first, will stand in the less need of alteration or abrogation: the frequency of either of which abutes much of the rigour of the Laws; and honour of the Law-makers. Many things in humane affairs admit not of second thoughts, notwithstanding they are generally known to be the best. In bello non his piccat: therefore sayes Solomon, with good advice make War, and manage it likewise with the same care, lest there be no room to play an after game. And wise men account it the best way to put as little as may be to peradventure. A man of under­standing, saith Solomon, Prov. 12. 27. is of an excellent Spirit; the Hebrew word is of a cool Spirit. Sedatus animo, slow, deliberate, composed, not hot which makes men quick and sudden in their resolves. Theod [...]sius that famous Christian Emperour, noted for great wisdome also, did that on the sudden in a passion, that he had cause to repent of ever after. To be flow to wrath argues great understanding in the wise mans account, Prov. 14. 29. It is reported of Heraclius the Treasurer of the said Theodosius, that giving so far way to his passion; as when the Saracens, who were hired by the Em­perour for the war came to demand their pay, he refused payment, and in­stead thereof; passionately called them Arabick Dogs, which so incensed them that they immediately set up their own Banners, which gave occasion to those infernal Locusts that came first out of the bottomless pit, to over spread the face of the Christian World, miserably tormenting the Inhabitants there­of, for an hundred and fifty years, where by the way may be noted, hard words are the worst kind of pay, can be made to such as venture their lives [Page 33] for the service of the common-wealth. The same befell Rehoboam, whose hard, proud and haughty words, were answered by a shower of as hard stones, that fell heavy on the bones of his officers.

But to return, much deliberation in publick affairs, specially if the case be about matters of moment, is rarely found a disadvantage. As was said of that old Roman, Fabius Maximus, Cunctando restituit rem, he repaired that by deliberation, and prudent delaying of matters, which some others had almost ruined, by their precipetant and heady adventures. The like de­liberation is of use in the enacting, as well as in the executing of all civill Constitutions and Degrees: Therefore wise Lawyers have been alwayes wont to acocunt Lawes of difficult Tearms, and doubtfull event, had need be deliberately thought upon, before they be enacted, or put in execution. Israels best venison was that which was longest in preparing.

2. The second branch of the Application may respect those honoured persons, who are like now, or hereafter may be called unto, or continued by this dayes Election in the place of Goverment, as Leaders of this our Tribe. I shall crave leave to suggest thus much unto you from the words of the text, what God doth, and man may justly expect from you, sc. That you be found such as have understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to doe. The title here given, is a sufficient intimation thereof. The rest of your Brethren here present, are but inferiour Members of that body, of which you are the Head, instruments subservient to your direction and guidance. The foot moves not, the hand is not lifted up with­out the order and command of the head. You are the pins on whom hangs all the glory of the house of Israel, therefore it behoves you to think of the change that lies upon you. We look upon you in this your capacity, like the four and twenty Elders, calling their Crowns at the feet of him that sits upon the Throne, and ready to receive them only by his appointment; as in­tending only to honour him therewith, and not your selves. They were wont to say amongst the Senators of Rome, viderint Consules, ne quid detr in menticaniat Respu [...]liea, i. e. it is the care of the Consuls, (who had the execu­ting part of the power of the People put into their hands) to see that the Common-wealth receive no detriment: I may, yea must add this further to your selves, ne quid detriments capiat Ecclesia, i. e. you are as well to see that the Church under your charge and care receive no damage or disadvantage. Consider the extent of your Commission this day to be sealed unto you, both by God and his people. Know therefore,

The concernments belonging unto you in reference to Israel, are either Ecclesiastical or Political, the latter are Civil, Military, so that as you see, they are threefold, Sacred, Civil, and Military, I shall briefly as the matter [Page 34] will allow, touch upon all three in their order.

1. The sacred, or Religious concernments of Israel are under your care and conduct. Imporative as they say, though not Elicitivè. I need not take up time (it were not to spend but mispend it) in proving, that civil Rulers have to do in matters of Religion. That Text alone, Mat. 22. 37. were enough to prove it, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might, &c. Love is ready to summon in all the powers and faculties within its reach, to attend the will of him whom it loves, as its last end, it was said by the Prophet, the Merchandize of Tyre, shall be holiness to the Lord, may it not as well be said, that the Magistracy of Rome, as the Merchandize of Tyre, was to be Holiness to the Lord. The Scepter of the Man childe, by virtue of his subordination to the Lord Jesus, was to rule all Nations with the Rod of iron, as tis said, Rev. 12. If any should say, the Lord Jesus doth not need the help of the Civil Magistrate to carry on his Kingdome, I answer, although he doth not need it (for he did carry on the work of his Kingdome when all the civil Magistrates of the world were combined against it) that will not excuse Magistrates for non­performance of their duty when ever they are impowred thereunto: To all such it may be said, as [...] said to Either, who knows but thou are come to the Kingdome for such a time as this; but if any desire further sa­tisfaction in this point, they may consult the learned discourses of all Prote­stant Writers upon this Subject, whether Lutheran, or Calvinst, Ge [...]hard, Grotius, sundry Episcopal learned Divines of our own Nation, as well as those of our own place, and persuation, treating of this Subject, specially Mr. Nye, his learned Defence of the lawfulness of the Oath of Su­premacy, and power of the Civil Magistrate in Ecclesiastical Affairs, and sub­ordination of Churches thereunto, whom I the rather chuse to instance in, because he hath extracted the quintescence and marrow of all our modern Divines, whether of the Episcopal, or other perswasions, and one also never suspected of, or condemned for, deviating, declining, or receding from former principles by himself taken up, which it may be others as innocent, are yet not altogether to free from the suspition of: that so it may appear that all sober Divines do joyntly agree in this conclusion. Nor is this Do­ctrine any new upstart invention, but a Truth owned by the Doctors and Fathers of the Church, as they are called in Constantines time. That first and famous Christian Emperour, was wont to say of himself that he was [...] as others were [...] Yea Paul himself declare it not only to be his judgement but the mind of God himself, in those direct and plain Text of the Epistles to the Romans, Chap. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. 1 Tim. 2. 2. And Peter also in his Epistle Chap. 2. 13: But to [...] any mistake here, by speaking more particularly about the civil Magistrates Power and [Page 35] duty concerning matters of Religion, it may be reduced to these three heads. 1. The establishing the true Religion where it never was. 2. The main­taining and upholding of it where it is. 3. The reforming it where it is grown corrupt.

1. Concerning the first of these, It is made by learned and judicious [...], one of the undoubted Rights of Soveraignty to determine what Religion shall be publickly professed and exercised within their Dominions. sc. what in their Consciences is most agreeable to the word of God, and the divine Law. What reason can be rendred why the Popish Religion is professed only in Spain, the Lutheran in some Kingdomes and Provinces of Europe, the Calvinists in others; an indulgence granted in some Kingdomes to differing professions, but that the chief Rulers, Kings or Prin­ces of State are this or that way affected? Why else doe wee in New England that profess the doctrine of Calvin, yet practise the discipline of them called Independant, or Congregational Churches, but because the authority of the Countrey is perswaded, that to be most agreeable to the mind of God.

This is not to be understood, as if it were to belong to civil Rulers to ob­t [...]ude upon the Consciences of their Subjects and people, the profession of what doctrine or Religion they please; but that no perswasion in Religion can orderly become the publick profession of any people or person, without liberty first obtained from the supream Rulers of the Nation. For it is a most certain truth, as Lactan [...]us speaks, there is nothing so voluntary as Religion, which without the wills consent is nothing. Another sayes also, he that is compelled by law to serve God in this or that way serves not God but his prince. The work of Rulers is therefore re [...]her to keep men from doing evill then to compell them to doe good. Thus did the first Christian Emperours of old, [...] up the Idol Temples, not suffering their subjects to walk on in the practice of their form r [...]bominable Idolatryes, but not compell them to embrace the Christian Faith. As did Ezekiah and Josiah before break down the Grove and other Idolls, not allowing their people publickly to commit Idolatry, and if they did compell those of their own nation to attend the Celebration of the passeover and the like, it was because that worship was [...] literally enjoyned that people, and they were to be cut off that did omit it. But under the Gospel the Worship of God is more spiritu­all, and requires Faith in the heart before the service of the outward man can be acceptable. Now Faith is a perswasion wrought in the heart, not in­gendred by outward compulsion, as saith Gregory, Novaet inaudita est illa [...], quoe verboribus eaeigit Fidem. But more time need not be taken upto speaking to that, which is taken for granted on all lands.

2. In the second place therefore, the same power is necessarily requi­red to uphold & maintain the true Religion, which was at first to establish is, [Page 36] that is to maintain the publick profession thereof. Creation and providence are the issues of the same Being and Power. If the true Religion had not been publickly professed without the countenance of the civil Power, it is not like to be professed longer then the same power will give allowance or Command or encouragement. Now this is or ought to be done,

1. By taking care that publick Ministers be sent forth to preach the word of truth, administer the Sacraments, and celebrate all other rites and Or­dinances, that doe concern the true Religion. Thus did Jehosophat, in the 2. Cron. 17. 7, 8, 9. So did the antient Christian Emperours by their Laws and Edicts, with other civil Constitutions. The Church by some is compared to hangings, the Common-wealth to the walls; the Church is the fruitfull Vine, the Common-wealth the prop that supports it.

2. By providing maintenance, and other suitable encouragements for such Ministers in all their administrations, according to the Apostolical practice Act. 6. 24. and precept 1. Cor 9 5 6, 7, 9. &c. For it will necessarily hold, that if Ministers by divine Institution may expect maintenance and encourage­ment, who should take care to see it done but the Rulers of Christian com­mon-wealths. God alwayes allotted a portion for those that ministred about holy things, both before the Law, and under the Law. Abraham as a man of warre paid tithes to Melchizedek as a publick Minister of God in that place, where he obtained his victory, They will have [...] that will undertake to prove that Tithes in some sense are not moral, as may be seen by the learned Mountagues discourse against Seld [...] about that Subject. But it is sufficient for our present purpose that those [...] the New-Testament conclude it a moral duty, with many other than might be cited, to take care they be maintained,

3. By setting up and encouraging the Schools of Learning, for he that wills the end is supposed also to will the meanes. It is not [...] that the Israelits should alwayes goe down to the Philistines to sharpen their wea­pons, which they are to use in fighting against the enemies of Gods Church, or for whetting their tooles they must use in tilling Gods field. Christian Emperours of old were wont to adorn Christian Temples with the Spoyles of the Gentiles. Julian complaines that the Christians best the heathen Phi­losophers with their owne weapons, therefore did he subtilly contrive to deprive the Christians of the benefit of Schooles, & other meanes of humane Learning thinking that to be the likelyest meanes whereby to overthrow the Christian Religion. Tis true that the defect of Learning in the Apostles was supplyed by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy-Ghost, but since those gifts are ceased, because other ordinary means may be sufficient for that end. God made Manna to follow the children of Israel from heaven, till they had opportunity to sow and reap in the land of Canaan, after which time the [Page 37] Manna ceased. While Israel was without a teaching Priest, & without a Law, they were also without the true God, 2. Chron. 15. 2. while the Scrip­tures were locked up in an unknown Language, how can they be opened without the key of humane Learning, or rightly divided without the study of the Workman, as the Apostle speaks. 2. Tim. 2. 15. Of old time they had Colledges and Schools of Learning, of which Elijah and Elisha were Presi­dents, and Overseers. What advantage the reformed Churches have had by their Princes and States erecting Schooles of Learning in their severall Dominions, is so well known that there needs no more to be said about this Argument. What considerable benefit this place hath already reaped, and as tis hoped may further receive by this one Colledge in the Countrey, founded, and hitherto carried on by the pious care and religious endeavors of our former worthy Leaders, and other liberal Benefactors, is sufficiently demonstrable to the view of the World.

4. By the calling of Synods or Councils, as need may require to discusse points of Religion in controversie, and to hear matters of differences and determine them, and be of use when ever there is want or truth or peace in the Churches. Some are ready to attribute too much to the power or use of Synods, which make others, or the other hand ascribe too little to them. For although civil Rulers are not absolutely tyed up to their determination further then they are grounded upon the word of God. As if the secular powers were alwayes bound to submit to the decrees of the Ecclesiastical Senate, as is practised in the Church of Rome, yet if orderly called, and duely managed, of what great use they have been in all ages, and still may be, the experience of all times can abundantly testifie, as the learned Craken­thorpe in his elaborate discourse about the first general Council hath fully evidenced; nor can it ever be made out, that any general Council, where all the Requisites essential to such a Council were found, have erred in their decrees about any matter of Faith, or fundamental Article thereof, as the same Author doth assert.

For although what Grotius sayes cannot be denied, that the Sovereign po­wer is not tyed to the judgement of Physitians in the case of a wound, nor of a Geometrician in the measuring of Land, yet is he much mistaken that from thence shall inferre, that the civil power need make no use, or can re­ceive no benefit or direction about such cases in question, before he gives his final determination in and about the same. The priests [...] should preserve knowledge; and of old they were in all arduous and difficult cases to repair to the Priest, and to the Judge that should be in those dayes. Deut 17. 9. 12. By proportion of that Text, it is no hard matter to gather what is the use and benefit, and what the power of Synods in a christian state.

5. By preventing the spreading and growth of corrupt Doctrine and he­retical [Page 38] Opinions: I confess it is not easie to hit the joynt in this controversie yet for the satisfaction of their minds, that may need or desire, I shall ad­venture to say something to this question, and that in this order, laying down some propositions that may by degrees lead unto a meet conclution about Toleration or Suppression of di [...]ing Opinions: for some men will call that Religion Heresie, in which good Christians are bound to worship the God of their Fathers: Therefore all that formerly hath, or at present doth pass up and down the World under the name of Heresie, Schisme or corrupt Doctrine, is not without due ground, so to be judged and condemned. I shall not here entertain you with any sharp invective, or declaiming against a boundless toleration of all Religions, least it should be an insi [...]uation; that some here present are inclined that way, which I believe there was never any occasion given to suspect.

1. In the first place therefore, I shall lay down this as an undoubted Po­sition, that it is scarce possible to give any general rule about Toleration, that will suit with all times and places, but much must be left to the prudence and discretion, and religious care of Civill Rulers. A weak body, as some have said, ought not to suffer that out of charity to another which a stronger may; and it may as truely be said, that a stronger need not to suffer that which a weaker must, which some say, was the case of Holland, with the rest of the united Provinces, who have softened the sharpness of all differences about Religion found in other places so troublesome, by a more general freedome for the exercise of differing Religions or differing perswasions about Chri­stian Religion, or connivance at them, then other States judged meet, that they might thereby gain the more hands to strengthen themselves against their common Enemies.

The rule given by some others, that whatever may consist with the interest of Religion and safety of the Common-wealth, is too indefinite: For if the Civil Rulers will say that then it is not safe to allow any to dissent from the publick profession established by Law, what shall become of the weak and infirme, they must of necessity be driven to suffer ship wrack of their Con­sciences, and of their lives and estates, it being impossible that all Consciences can quietly submit to the Religion of the state. Doubtless as much tender­ness as may should be used out of pity to the infirmities of mens understand­ings, seeing in many things we sin or offend all. That golden Rule laid down by our Saviour is of excellent use if it were attended, Alterine [...], &c. so do no otherwise to others then we would they should do to us if we were in their condition. And indeed it may seem not only unchristian, but very [...], to deny that to others which our friends and our selves have, [...] desire, or [...] from others, a special Law of Humanity toward strangers was given by God to the Children of Israel, from the consideration [Page 39] of what had been their own case in Egypt before.

2. Such Opinions in Doctrine, or professions and practises in Religion, as are attended with any soul practiced evils as most Heresies have been, ought to be prohibited by publick Authority, and the broachers or fomenters of them punished by penal laws, according to the nature of the offence, like o­ther fruits of the flesh. God never appointed a Sanctuary for Satan, nor City of Refuge for presumptuous offenders. As Joab was taken from the Horns of the Altar, whether he was fled, so let all such hereti [...] transgres­sors, that fly for refuge to the Altar of their Consciences; seeing their pra­ctises and Opinions argue rather searedness, then tenderness of Conscience, and therefore such weeds justly deserve the exercise of his power to root them up that bears not the Sword in vain. The deeds of the Nicholaitans, every good Christian, be he an head or member of the Christian state, ought to hast, and endeavour the extirpation of such roots of bitterness out of the Garden of God.

3. Any Doctrine undenyably tending to the disturbance of the civil state, ought to be suppressed, and the publick profession, yet by civil Authority forbidden, and the disobedient to be proceeded against, as who some and [...] Laws provide in such cases, for S [...]lus populiest supremal [...]x; the safety of the people is the supream Law our Saviour neither preached nor practised [...], no more should any of his followers: his command was to give un­to God the things that are Gods, and to render to Cesar the things that are Ce [...]ars, Mat. 22. 21. Therefore for all known incendiaries in Church or state, such as are the Jesu [...]tes, Munsterian Anabaptists, Wolves in Sheeps­cloathing, Devils in humane shape, who ever pleaded for their e [...]emption from penal Laws, but those that are, or would, if they might be like unto them. Likewise all such as expose the religion professed by the countenance of publick Authority to vulgar contempt may justly fall under the same con­demnation: concerning these as well as the former, I may say to the civil Ru­lers of the Country as David said to Solomon, in another case, Thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto them, 1 King. 2. 9.

4. For simple Heresie, or misbelieving any truth in Religion, though fun­damental, if not seditiously or Basphem [...] held forth, there seems neither rule from the word of God, nor reason from the nature of the thing, why any should undergoe capital punishment. Nor doth it appear to be the judg­ment of the best Protestant Writers, that they should be so proceeded a­gainst. They that desire to understand more of this Subjects may pause the Writings of the most judicious Professors of Divinity in the [...] Univer­sityes of Protestant Nations, whither Lutheran or Calvinists as may be seen in the Common places [...] and o­thers. The Law in Deut. 13. will not reach the case, which seems to respect [Page 40] Apostacy or Blasphemy rather then heresy simply considered. Yet, as one faith, men cannot be too cautelous and wary how they make others in that damnable Series seriously and solemnly professing the contrary, yea by ex­perience it hath commonly been found that such proceedings have in the issue tended more to the advantage of errour, and prejudice of truth then otherwise.

The Magdeburgenses and Osiander tell us in their centuryes, what was the success of capital punishment inflected upon the Priscillianites, hac vatione hoerisis hoec magis confirmata, quam extinct a fuit. As they speak out of Sulpitius Severns, sc. that Heresie (in it self abominable & odious enough) was rather confirmed then extinguished thereby: some have thought there hath been no better effect of the same course in following times, ad judicium sangui­nis, said Luther, territus sum, [...] meritum abundat; Luther wanted no fervour against false doctrine, yet was slow to consent to sanguinary punish­ment, lest occasion be taken thereby in following times to slaughter the in­nocent sheep of Christ, as came to pass amongst the Jews of old, and since among the Papists. Yet notwithstanding there is no doubt but the civill power may and ought to non-licentiate him that shall take upon him as a Physitian to prescribe to the people poysonous Drugs instead of wholsome food or physick, although they may not punish him that shall declare that to be his opinion, unless he offend the Lawes by his irregular manner of so doing. Doubtless they that are nursing Fathers of their people, ought as well to prevent person as to provide bread for them: which seems to be all that was intended by the authority of the Countrey in the Laws formerly made against Hereticks. If the owner or keeper of the Vineyard shall make a thorn hedge about it, if any man by violence breaking in, shall wound or destroy himself, where will the blame be found, in them that made the hedg so sharp and strong, or in them that attempted without leave violently to break in? Those hereticks, saith Vo [...]ius, that shall deny the fundamentals of the Christian Religion, Arrians and Socinians, Conventus torum nec tublici, nec private-publici sunt ferendi, if with publick safety they may be forbidden. Their religion, as he speaks being little better then refined [...] directly tending to the destruction of souls.

It was a notable Strategem Amphilochius used to convince Theodosius the Emperour, of his duty in suppressing the Conventicles or meetings of the Arrians. The good Bishop refused to salute the Emperours son, newly also created Emperour, which Theodosius his father taking all, as if he had for­gotten his duty, whereupon, the said Amphilochius returned upon him with these words, vides, O Imperator quam agrè ignominiam filii tui patiar [...], imo vero illis, qui in illum insultant, vehementes succenses: creaere igitur mibi ve­lim, hujus Universitatis Recturem Deum, coc qui contra filium suum unigenitum [Page 41] loquuntur Blasphemias, itidem detestari et tanquam ingratos erga Servatorem et Patr [...]n [...]m suum odio prosequi, i. e. Thou seest O Emperour, how hardly thou art able to bear the reproach done to thy son, yea thou art vehement­ly offended with them that insult over him, I would have you believe me, that God the Ruler of this Universe doth in like manner detest them that speak Blasphemies against his only begotten son, and doth hate them as very ungratefull to their Saviour and Deliverer.’ Whereupon the Empe­rour forthwith enacted a Law, that forbad any assemblyes should be held by the hereticks.

5. In the last place, for those Opinions which are inconsistent with the truth of Religion, and power of godliness, and where those that profess that may in charity be supposed to have in them aliquid Dei, as Calvin, or aliquid Christi, as Bucer was wont to say, the case is far otherwise. For though I would not be understood to plead for a Toleration of the least evil, (for all error is in it self a fruit of the first sin, and part of the curse) any further then necessity requires there should be an allowance made for humane infirmi­tyes in this state of imperfection. That which is wanting sayes Solomon, cannot be numbred, as that which is crooked cannot be made straight. Yet why there may not be an indulgence, or connivance at them that in some things (not fundamental) may not be so far perswaded of the truth of every thing professed or practised in the Religion established, as to joyn with o­thers in all outward acts of worship, being in other respects orderly and peaceable, but desire to worship God according to their owne perswasion, I understand not. Paul was permitted to dwell quietly in his owne [...] house, no doubt but that he worshipped God, according to the Institution of the Gospel. Act. 28, 30. For as Magistrates and civill Rulers should not Gallio like, let truth and errour run together in a race, catch it who [...] so neither should they Gyant like, strain up all under their power to their owne measure, or bringing them down to their owne size, as was [...] of Procrustes, that used so to deal with his Guests. It seems not equal to [...] all others to keep our Pace. Besides, they may be thought to dispute under too much disadvantage, when they know all the Arguments of their adversa­ries will conclude in Ferio whatsoever the medium may be. Or to what end should men be put to produce either Scripture or reason to confirm the Re­ligion they profess, if as Jacobus Acontius sayes out of Tertullian, they can expect no other Answer, then from the executioner or officer of Justice.

3. The third and last branch of the Magistrates care about Religion, is to reform it when it is grown corrupt, or is in tendency thereunto.

In clearing of which I need not stay long, this part of their power so un­deniably following upon the other two ex natura [...] To whom doth it belong more properly to repair the house, then to them that first said the [Page 42] foundation and set it up. As the first famous Kings of Israel prepared the matter, and erected the Temple of God at Jerusalem, so the following Kings took it to be their duty to repair and put it in order again.

Solomon put out Ab [...]atha [...] as an unmeet person from the office of the priesthood, no reason can be rendred why the Kings and Princes of our times may not do the like if the case be the same, or if the like unworthiness be found in the persons of them that minister about holy things. Idolatry was suppressed by Asa, Jehosaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah, and the worship of God restored to the first Institution. What hath been done by Christian Empe­rours and Kings in all former ages to our present dayes, is well known by the History of those times, by the Laws, Edicts and Constitutions left upon Record, enacted by their power. But still we must keep in our minds, that the power so exerted by the civil Magistrate, supream or subordinate, is to be understood, cumulativè not privativè, so they that take it to be their duty to abolish Catholicorum Hierachiam, doe not in the stead thereof establish Politicorum [...] Uzz [...]ah must not meddle with the exercise of the Priests office, although he may and ought to require those that enjoy such officers to perform their duty. As Paul, or the Collossians may or should ex­hort Archippus to fullfill the ministry he hath received in the Lord to fullfill it. The Magistrate may require, and command it, and prevent the corruption of the Church, by removing such, and substituting others in their room, and in their stead.

2. We are in the next place to consider of the political concernments of those who are the Heads of Israel, the which are of two sorts, Civil or Military i. e. take care it be done by them whom it concerns.

1. For the civill concernments of the Leaders in Israel, there are exigents in reference to this as well as the former, that require much prudence and skill to know what Israel ought to doe in and about the same.

There are two things principally to be attended here, 1. The modera­tion of the civil power to a due Temperament. 2. The faithfull improve­ment of it for the publick good. For the first, it is very true which a learned person observes, that power is a liquor very apt to overflow, in what vessel soever it is put, unless it be tempered with a due proportion of Wisdome and Goodness, and is apt though never so necessary in it self, to prove per­nicious and destructive to them that are concerned in it. It is very obser­vable that God give Israel Laws, Judicial as well as Ceremoniall, leaving as little as might be to the arbit [...]iment of civill Rulers. And that hath been the continual care of prudent Law givers, to abate the height of Sover aign­ty by a meet Temperament of some of the inferiour Sort. Sue [...] were the Ephori [...]at Sparta of old, the Tribunes at Rome, and the Delegates of people in most modern Kingdomes and States, as well as amongst our selves. And [Page 43] it is noted by a very judicious Interpreter, that when the people of Israel would not be satisfied without a king, God ordered Samuel to write the manner of the Kingdome in a Book. 1. Sam. 10. 25. ‘That is the fundamen­tal Laws of the Kingdome to temper Monarchy with a liberty besitting his owne people, and with equity toward a Nation, which of its own free will did chuse a King, and with a benignity of Government of Brethren of the same race, to withstand the abuse of an absolute power, which the peo­ples blind desire might have caused the new King to have run into, As D [...]odate speaks upon that Text.’

As for the improvement of this power, the titles given to such Rules in the Text, and other places of the Scripture, as a sufficient intimation of the duty of those that are called to the exercise thereof,

As they are heads, so they ought to go before the members of the civil body by their pious and gave examples, as well as by their prudent Coun­sels, and their just and wholsome Laws: for tis true which one hath longum [...] per pr [...]cepta, breve & efficax per exempla, examples of Rulers are always observed to take more place with their people then their precepts. Posterity will as much honour the piety of him that left a good patern of honesty or bounty, as they will the wisdome of him that left a good body of just and useful Laws. And some Princes have inherited the title and surname of good and liberal, as well as for other perfections of wisdome or justice. This way also is more fruitful in the propagating and increasing virtues, Autor ese bonorum consequentium, qui bonum rel [...]quit exemplum. As on the other hand a people are apt to be leavened and hardened in vice by the evil example of their Governours. Have any of the Rulers believed on him, as they speak in John? you know David would not yield to an unequal Distribution of the booty, although thereby greater advantage might have accrued to his own person, by which self-denying example, so good a custome, or standing Law in Israel had its first original. We know also how much benefit hath followed such Examples in Nehemiah and others, who have been a means to provoke others to the like acts of goodness and charity by their practices.

They are as Pillars that úphold the Foundation of the state, which in a sense may be said to be built thereon. David complains of the dissolution of the state in those times, before he was called to bear up the pillars of it. Ru­lers indeed if they are built like arches, that clasp in all round together, the more weight there is laid upon them, the firmer they stand, but being disuni­ted, or not joynted in well together, they weaken the authority of each other and hasten the ruine of the whole. It was noted of Themist [...]cles and Aris­tides, who alwayes had their private quarrels at home, that when they were sent abroad upon publick service, they never carried their particular contests beyond the bounds of their own Country: a commendable patern for o­thers [Page 44] to imitate. who as they are called also, Corner stones ought carefully to endeavour not only to keep up, but unite the whole building together.

They are the Watch-men set upon the Gates of Jerusalem, to descry dan­ger afar off, which hath its truth in reference to civil Magistrates, as well as spiritual Watch-men, by the consent of the best Interpreters.

It is not safe to give false Alarms, because it may occasion true ones to be the less regarded; nor yet to give an uncertain round, for who then can be prepared for the Battel? yet in such cases a godly jealousie should not be complained of, if a Watch-man shall cry an Enemy, when a Friend cometh, he ought more to be commended for his care, then blamed for his errour, as some have said.

They are nursing Fathers to Israel, and Physitians to Gilead; it is the office of the head, not only to prevent the evill that may befail the other members of the body, but also to heal it: And therefore they must be endued with much patience to bear with the frowardness of those to whom they stand so related. Neither must they heal the wound slightly, for fear of the smart, for sometimes it will fall out that impatiens aegrotans crudelem sacit medicum.

They are Law givers, to prescribe wholsome Lawes and Rules of Living; the Fountains of Justice, whence flow the streames that refresh and make fruitfull the heritage of Israel. Yea, Magistratus est animata Lex, a Ruler is a living Law. The Law, sayes one, is an heart without affection, a mind without passion, a treasurer to keep what we have, and a steward to distri­bute what we ought to have. But it had need be considered that the life and virtue of Lawes lyes in their execution, therefore the making of more Lawes then need or can be executed, may weaken the authority of them that are in force, and necessary to be attended. Yea it is found by experience that lenity in the executing of Lawes, is more hurtfull then severity. The best way to keep an instrument in good tune, is to leave the strings upon a sharp, they being naturally apt to fall of themselves. And mankind is continually bent to declining. And Politicians use to account violation of Lawes, not so hurtfull as non-execution. In this sense he that is slothfull in his work is brother to him that is a great Waster, Prov. 18 9.

They are Lords, as well as Law-givers. Nothing more truly denoting Lordship, then a power to give Lawes. No debt is more justly due their Homage tribute to the Lords of a people, which if it were freely paid, need not be exacted; where we are required to render to God the things that are Gods, in the same clause it is added likewise, to Cesar the things that be Cesars. Yet the less of the dead fly of covetousness that is found in the oyntment, the more precious will the savour thereof be found. A wise citi­zen of Genoa once told an Agent of the Duke of Millayn, to whom at that time they of Genoa were Subjects, that they should deal with their Tributa­ries [Page 45] as men use to doe with the herb Bazil, which being gently stroked, yields a pleasant savour, but being pressed, sends forth an unsavoury smell.

In fine, they are Gods, whose wisdome and goodness they ought to imi­tate as well as his power: He by his wise providence maintains a sweet harmony in the whole world, though made up of contrary Elements; all which not withstanding peace and concord is maintained in the universe, by a wise and equal temperament of those several qualities.

There need be no exact enquiry into the crotchets of this or that persons particular fancy, so they be ordered to keep in tune with their companions.

There is a Town in Germany called Mind [...]n, which the Hystory of that Country tells us, it received its name, from an agreement in that place be­twixt the Emperour and some of the neighbour Princes; the name signify­ing mine and thine. It were well for the Christian world if there had been an occasion to build more such like Cities; but this iron age hath been more successful, or rather fatal in pulling down the old, then in building up new Cities. It were the presage of happy times at hand, if once there were a good agreement established between the power of the Rulers, and liberty of their Subjects, that neither might encrease upon the others rites and liber­ties. Thus much of the civil affairs relating to the Heads of Israel.

2. In the second place, the Military concernments of Israel call for no little prudence and skill, sometimes as much stress and difficulty is found here as in the former. Intricastes may be so interwoven, that it may prove very difficult to know what Israel ought to do. The Church is sometimes com­pared to a Lilly among Thorns, there will need Gloves of iron to handle such thorns and pricking Bryars. These may want also as well courage to know how, as wisdome to know what to do. Dolus an virtus—yea some­times God may be provoked to vex a people with all adversity. He may raise such a tempest in a Nation, as both head and Members may be at their wits end, not knowing what to do. Hence it hath been found in former times, that no manner of persons ever gained more interest in the hearts of People, then those that have manfully undertook and successfully accom­plished their warrs. Gideon is a Judge by Gods Election, and might have been a King by the peoples but David must be a King by the call and consent of both. In former times, none were Kings but such as had been Captains, they being accounted the fittest to govern a People in time of peace, that had led them. or saved them in time of War. That valiant atchievement of Saul against the Amonites reconciled him to all his People with the highest degree of acceptance, and stopped the mouthes of all the Sons of Belial that were opened against him, at his first call to the Kingdome. Yet will it be found a truth, what that warlike people of Rome were wont to say. Parvi sunt foris arma, nisi est consilium domi. I shall only therefore here crave [Page 46] leave to commend some considerations to your acceptance on this account, as are obvious to them that have had the least acquaintance with the sacred Hystory.

1. It is never safe to take a Dog by the ears: so Solomon tells us, Prov. 26. 17. that is to meddle with an unnecessary strife, or begin a War without just ground. This is one part of the power of the Sword, which as the Magistrate beareth not in vain, so neither must he take it in vain. for he that so taketh the Sword, as our Saviour speaks, Mat. 26. 52. may expect to pe­rish by the Sword: there is nothing more necessary then self preservation: and our friends as our Country are part of our selves. Noc is actual con­sederation alwayes necessary for taking up Arms in the behalf of our friends, as appears by the Instance of Abraham and Lot, yet had there need be great care had, that an unnecessary war be not undertaken, for the War is on one side an [...]ainous evil or Murder, on both it is a Judgment.

2. War ought not to be made without good advice, Prov. 20. 18. & 24. [...]. which is to be understood as well of the managing, as of the first engaging in a War. Josiah by over hasty resolves engages himself and his people in a fatal War, which proved the ruine of both. Tis true, when a Nation or people are ripe for a judgment, God doth judicially bring it upon them, yet according to the mediate causality, it may be the imprudencies, indiscretion, and want of Faith in Gods promises, not asking counsel at Gods Oracle, that may be the immediate cause. David though he had alwayes managed his war with the greatest success, yet he may seem the most timerous warriour in the World, but it was from an holy fear; he never daring to enter or be­gin a Battel where he was not sure of God to be his Second, or rather his Leader, Therefore we finde that he made more use of Gods Ephod, then of Goliahs Sword. Gideon though in Gods account a mighty Man of valour, yet to his own sense seems a very fearful and weak man, because his depen­dance was upon Gods word, more than his own valour.

3. Off [...]r violence to no man, Luke. 3. 14. a necessary rule for all men of warre to walk by; so then we must not doe wronge to the innocent be they Indians or English. David was in a temptation to doe wronge to the ino­cent in Nabals family, by having the sword in his hand, but he blessed God for the advice sent him in the mouth of a woman, which prevented his un­sheathing it against the innocent.

4. Let not him that putteth on his harness boast himself as he that puts it off. 1. Kings. 20. 10. 11. It is not the wisest way to divide the Bears skin, before the bear he killed. They that overcome before they begin to fight, never may have cause to boast of their victory. Upon serious thought the sad losses and slaughter that have befaln this poor Countrey, in the present warre, can be imputed to nothing more than to the contempt of our ene­mies [Page 47] or overweening thoughts of our owne skill and courage. It is never good to despise a small enemy.

5. Let them that undertake a Warr first sit down and count whither they can with ten thousand, deal with them that come against them with twenty thousand. Luke. 14. 31. The Israelites in the wilderness, and the Jewes in Jeremiahs time will needs stand it out with their enemies, and try the bat­tel, when they have neither promise nor probability of success. The advice which once Herennius in Italy gave to his Country-men is very consi­derable, the substance of which was that they should deal courteously with their enemies (some of whom they had at that time in their hands) if they feared [...] might not safely destroy them, and thereby draw upon themselves the hatred of a people too hard for them. Sometimes it may be much better to ask Counsell at Abel, and end the matter without [...]oud, then to let the young men (as Abners phrase is) play with the sword, which may prove bit­terness in the end. Sometimes a victory will scarce countervail the charge or the hazzard and difficultyes it may be accompanied with, which made a Prince once return this sorrowfull reply to one that did congratulate his Victory, that such an other would have undone him. Such is the solemn Dispensation of God to our selves in the present warr with the Indians, that we must say, the God of our Salvation hath not answered us, but by ter­rible things in righteousness. And we may commend it to posterity, as some­times was said by the Historian multo sanguine ac vulneribus [...]a victoria sietit i. e. we must write upon it, that our victoryes have cost us much blood and many wounds. But the Almighty the Lord of Hosts can turn New-Eng­lands [...] into a Benjamin, which he grant for his mercyes sake.

6. Wisdome is better then weapons of warr, for wisdome delivered the city when the strength of the Inhabitants failed. And wisdome will direct when the iron is blunt Joab deserved to be captain more for his conduct then his courage, though he were not defective in the latter. And may it not be said of many of our young men, that have so sadly fallen by the edge of the Sword of late, that it was for want of something else, more then for lack of [...].

It being observed eminently how the old inmate valour of the English na­tion still lives in their posterity of which Comines once said, that there was no nation more greedy of Battel, nor more impatient of delays that way than the English.

As Arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are Children of the youth, says the Psalmist. psal. 127. 4. and the prophet Zech. 9. 13. speaks of filling the bow with Ephraim, now the reason why the Arrow misses the mark most usually is, in not taking right aime, or in not sending forth the Ar­row with meet strength. Our Children blessed be God, have not been afraid [Page 48] to speak with the Enemy in the Gate, yet hath death strangly found them unawares, not allowing them liberty to bid defiance to their Enemies, shel­tered by the covert of the woods, while themselves lay in open view of danger.

7. Looking up to God, who is the Lord of Hosts, he turns the scale of vi­ctory to which side he pleases. He taught Davids hands to War, and his fingers to fight, he was a man of War from his Youth, experienced in all feats of Arms, difficulties of Wars, hazard of Battel, and danger of secret Ambushments, yet was he alwayes fearful of encountring until he saw God marching before him in the head of his Army, 1 Chron. 14, 15. He was de­signed of God to cut down the Trees of the Wilderness that overshadowed the Vine brought out of Egypt, which never [...] became [...] fruit­ful till David had the pruning of it, or the dressing of the Ground where it was planted.

Those that are Leaders of Israel, whether in things Civil or Military, have need of one other gift also besides wisdome and courage, and faith in Gods promises, viz. Patience, that after they have done the will of God, and served their Generation, they may expect their reward from God, and not from men. David so found it that upon every occasion his people were ready either to fall from him, or arm against him; which made him bless God for keeping him from the strivings and tumults of the people, as well as from the raging of his Enemies Quiregit, said Luther, signum est in quod Satan omnia jacula dirigit. Magistrates are as the B [...]tts against which Sa­tan casts all his Arrows. However, it is their duty to continue constant in their service: and if they, after all their labour, and difficulties, and hazards of all sorts, wherein they may have ventured their lives far for the good of others, they come to be crowned with Thorns instead of Laurel. It is no more then what the chief Captain of our Salvation underwent before them. But thus much may suffice for the second Branch of the Application, respect­ing such as may be called to supply the place of heads in Israel.

3. The third and last respects the people in general, or who ever are as Subjects under the care and conduct of the heads in Israel, to all of whom I may say, in the words of our Saviour, Luk. 10. 37. go & do you likewise, Here is a compleat patern in the [...] Text. Do you all say as Hush [...]i said, His and theirs will we be whom God and his people, by this dayes Election shall continue in, or call unto the place of Government in this our Tribe. God in his Providence, hath in a way of subordination cast you under the charge of such heads, as have understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do, the inference is both very cogent, & very natural, be you at their command. You are called to do, not dispute the lawful commands of them who are over you in the Lord, and that by your own choice. A notable General once going [Page 49] out of Rome, and making a speech to the people, as the manner then was, before his departure out of the city, among other things told them that if any of them thought themselves wise enough to manage the warre, they should goe along with him to assist him by their counsel, or else rule their tongues at home, for he should manage things not it may be, to their ex­pectation, but as he saw occasion. It is observed in the history of the flou­rishing Commonwealth of the Romanes, that much of their success could be ascribed to nothing more, under the overruling hand of divine providence then the strict discipline and observation of order amongst them, both ci­vill in the Common-wealth in time of peace, and military abroad in the time of warre. One reports of a Souldier under Augustus, that in the prose­cution of a battle, being about to slay one of his enemies that then was in his power, hearing a retreat sounded, forbore, using these words, malem [...] Duci, quàm occidere Hostem, accounting the glory of obedience to his Commander greater then that of victory over his enemy. Here were a large field to expatiate in if time and other occasions would give leave to let the discourse run on that subject, but considering in regard of the present distress of the war that hath lyen so long upon us, that something may be expected from me on that account, either to search after the cause, why all this great evill is come upon us, or by propounding something by way of remedy, I shall in the next place apply my self to speak something as God shall assist, that way.

The time was not long since, that we in New-England might have said with Job, the eye that saw us, whither of friends or foes, was ready to bless us, or envy our prosperity, and might be ready to say as Balam sometimes did, (when his eyes were opened) as the beholding of the tabernacle of God a­mongst us, in the midst of the Standards of our four united Colonyes, en­camping round about, How goodly are thy tents O Jacob, and thy Tabernacles O Israel! Surely there is no divination against Jacob nor enchantment against Israel. When the Candle of God shined upon our head, by whose light we walked through darkness. We washed our steps with butter, and the rock poured us out rivers of oyl, as Job speaks. When God first brought this vine out of another land where it might be much over shadowed, he cast out the heathen, and planted it, he caused it to take deep root, and it was ready to fill the land; the hills began to be covered with the shadow of it, its boughs began to look like goodly cedars: it might have been said in some sence, that we sent our boughs to the Seas, and our branches to the rivers: But now we may take up the Lamentation following, Why are out hedges broken down, and the wild boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast out of the field doth devour it? It is burnt with fire, it is cut down, we pe­rish at the rebuke of his countenance; yet is he the Almighty, we have looked [Page 50] up to him to behold and visit this vine, but he seems not as yet willing to look down upon us, he seems only to look on, not willing to engage in our quar­rels, as a way-faring man that turns aside for a night, as a mighty man that cannot save. May we not expostulate further with the Psalmist, The hea­then are come into thine inheritance, O God, The dead bodyes of thy Ser­vants, some of them have they given to be meat to the fowles of heaven, the flesh of thy servants to the beasts of the earth, Their bloud have they shed like water, and there is none to bury them. How long Lord, wilt thou be angry for ever, shall thy jealousie but in like fire before thou pour thy wrath upon the heathen that have not, and will not know thee, nor call upon thy Name? How hath the Lord covered our Sion with a cloud in his an­ger; how many men and women here present may say, we are the men and the women, the persons that have seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. Here is one like old Jacob ready to say, his gray hairs will be brought down with sorrow to the grave, and that he shall go mourning thither after the children of his old age. There is another with Rachel. weeping and will not be comforted, because her children are not: they are gone into captivity never to return, or removed into the other world by the sword of the ene­my. Doth not many an one sit solitary in widdowhood, that before might take much content in the husband of her youth, that now of the children which they brought into the world, have none to take them by the hand. Surely affliction doth not spring out of the dust, nor doth trouble arise out of the ground: Doubtless there is some root of bitterness, whence this Gall & wormwood of affliction hath proceeded, After this and that time of seek­ing God, we looked for deliverance, and behold trouble came. Many sad troubles have befaln us in former years, and now one of the forest is come upon us, the Sword, and that of a cruel enemy, which uses not to be drawn upon Gods owne people till lesser chastisements have proved ineffectual. But some may say for what great evill is it, that God hath thus changed his hand toward us, and what may be the cause of this great Anger?

I shall offer my thoughts in a few words.

1. In the first place I can presume none reflect upon the constitution of our Government, either in Church or State. Wise Master-builders have laid the foundation of the Building, a better who can desire to be laid, either for the liberty of the people, or just power of them that rule? Were not our foun­dations laid with Saphyres, and our stones with fair colours? Was not the patern in the mount, the rule that was attended in the laying of our plat­form of Order? Was there any Temptation upon the minds of them that were concerned in that work to swerve there from to the right hand or to the left. Or if any disposition, or the least inclination had been dis­cerned that way, had you not power to have laid those aside & placed others [Page 51] in their room and stead! Much might be said here if there were need.

2. If you enquire into the succession of our Leaders, and succenturiation of the persons called to supply the room of them that having served their generation, are now fallen asleep in the Lord. Have they not acted accor­ding to former principles, and shewed the same spirit of Faith and Holiness Zeal for Gode glory and purity of worship, the same love to God and his wayes? Have they built hay or stubble upon the Foundation formerly laid? It hath alwayes been the humour of those that follow to be ready to com­plain of the present age wherein they live, which Solomon checks as proceed­ing from want of judgment, Eccless. 7. 10. Thou enquirest not wisely concer­ning this matter. Every age doth not yield a David nor a Solomon. Yet it is observed, things went well in Judah in Rehoboams time. 2 Chron. 12. 12. so long as the ordinances were duly observed about Gods worship good judgment and justice executed, and in many of the Princes and people good things were found. Much more was this to be acknowledged in the reign of Asa, and Jehosaphat, though of them it might be said, non nulla desideran­tur. yet they aimed at the best patern in Sincerity. Their hearts were per­fect with the Lord their God, as was the heart of David their father. Possi­bly some upon every check and frown of providence against us, may be rea­dy with Saul to call for the Lot to be cast, and will be too forward without a perfect Lot, to say the cause is in Saul or in Jonathan, or in the people. Or else adde there is some Achan in the camp, and Jonas in the Ship, that must immediately be made a sacrifice to divine Justice, as they may misconceive. We must not lye for God, and need be carefull we doe not entitle divine Pro­vidence to the mistakes of our minds, and make God speak that by his provi­dence, which never entred into his heart. Of many outward changes it is most certain, that we can know neither love nor hatred thereby. Some men may be ready to say, there is too much indulgence towards men of corrupt mindes, and it is to be feared in some of our Rulers too. It is two to one if some doe not say the contrary. For we know what animadversions have been made by men of other perswasions, none had need give any occasion to such misconstructions of Gods hand, by an ungrounded suiting of times with events. Were it not a more probable way for us to know our own duty, (that is the surest way to know the mind of God concerning ourselves) and engage to doe it, letting alone those things wherein possibly we may not be all of one minds: Forgetting therefore those things that are behind, as the A­postle speaks, let us set upon those things that are before us, wherein we are all agreed upon our duty, leaving the other to the decision of further light and after times. Deus et dies revelabit. A divided language hindred the building of Babel, and forced the undertakers to desist. as the Poet ex­presses it, one sayes make that rope fast, the other lets it fly. How then [Page 52] can we conceive it should tend to build up Sion. No doubt but an unguided and indiscreet zeal in many to promote, or profess their opinions in the most publick manner, hath done much mischief in the world. And possibly a like errour to suppress them, by undue means hath done some. Let no mans good be evill spoken of, Peradventure some men might have let fall their o­pinions or errors, as the Traveller did his cloake, if they had not been too boisterously and rudely set upon by their opposites. If we find cor bonum & honestum, as one said of Swen [...]feld, though there want caput regulatum Cal­vini, we should not cast away the gold because of the dross mingled with it. Although they are in a great error that out of love to the wine, swallow down the dregs after it, yet they are in a greater that refuse the good liquor because of the Less in the bottome. The best wheat hath its chass. God may reveal more of his mind to those that differ from us as well as to our selves, could we but have patience to wait his leisure. And we should the rather commiserate the infirmityes of other mens understandings, because our own are not as yet arrived at perfection. So much modesty becomes every Chri­stian, as not to condemn all he doth not understand, so neither to call for fire from heaven against any that may differ from him. Nor is every one to be taxed as a party in the case, that is not so forward as another to call for a ci­vill sword, to end the controversie. Possibly some in the world have alrea­dy experienced the verification of our Saviours words, in this sense; they that take up the sword shall perish with the sword. Paul tells us Rom. 14. 5. 6. he that keepeth or regardeth the day, regardeth it to the Lord: He that regard­eth not the day to the Lord he doth not regard it. All mens Consciences are not enlightened in the same degree. Were it not better to debate the cause with our neighbours, with those we dissent from, and not so peremp­torily to entitle Gods truth to the private apprehensions of our selves, or our owne party, in such cases where possibly the whole truth is not revealed; such proceedings it may be, doe but embolden disengaged standers by to complain of both, as befell B [...]za & Erastus in their conte [...] about Lay-Elders.

4. It cannot be denied but that these corruptions have too too many a­bounded amongst us that usually are concomicant, with long peace and out­ward prosperity. Standing waters are more apt to corrupt and grow pu­trid. The best tempered blades are apt to abate of their edge by disuse or to be eaten with rust. But are not all scandalous evils been witnessed against by Authority both Civil and Ecclesiastical, by executing wholsome Laws, and Church censures: are not evil doers removed, that all Israel may hear, and fear, to run into presumptuous evils [...] and are there not many hopeful buds springing up amongst the rising Generation, on whom that blessed pro­mise, Isai 44. 3. begins to take place, I will pour my Spirit upon thy Seed, and my Blessing upon thy off spring. Is there not found in them a great [Page 53] readiness to give up themselves to the work and service of their Generation. Such as have offered themselves willingly, and have not loved their lives to the death. You have had Presidents of your Colonies and Colleges, that have been bred or brought up in the Country; Hath not God in a great measure been ready to make good what he hath spoken by the Prophet Amos I will power of my Spirit upon your young men, And chosen of such to be Nazarites, is it not thus? If any think I am too long upon this Theam, they may consider the readiest way to obtain a return of the like favour, or a continuance of the former, is, thankfully to acknowledge what is, as well as what hath been. He that hath done this, can do yet more. God is but waiting for an opportunity of our thankfulness and humility to turn his face toward us that we may be saved.

5. Gods providential dispensations toward his People ordinarily hold a proportion with his former promises: God is ordinarily wont to be with his People, while they are with him: for although he may out of his absolute Soveraignty turn aside out of the ordinary road of his dealings without gi­ving us an account, as he did with Job: And with the whole Church, Psal. 43. 17. All this is come upon us, yet have we not forgotten thee, nor dealt deceitfully in thy Covenant, and Gods dispensations toward his Elect in their particular persons are more various; yet as to Provinces and people that profess his Name God doth usually suit his dispensations with the wayes of his people, in all ages it hath been so, specially under the Law: under the Gospel, God hath been pleased to order events something otherwise though still it is found a truth, that Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come; yet may it be observed, that in the primitive times, when was evidenced the great pourings out of the Spirit, may be greater then ever shall be again till the general Resurrection; there were never sadder calamities that befel the people of God in all former ages. Herein was God pleased to discover the power of his Grace, in not suffer­ing the Bush to be consumed, though the fire was increased seven fold, even by that admirable way of manifestation of the faith and patience of the Saints was the World convinced of the truth of the Gospel, that he who was in them that professed it, was greater then he that was in the World which op­posed it, in that all the World could do, they could not put a stop to the progress of Christs Kingdome. Their hearts were then raised to so eminent a degree of holiness and piety, (being refined by that fire of persecution from their Dross) that they could discerne the least buddings of sin, and the first rise of any worldly lusts, which made them ready to condemn them­selves under those several fiery Tryals in the Furnace of affliction (wherein they were Gods chosen Jerusalem) as if those judgements of the Sword of persecution, were only occasioned by some defection in their sincerity, and [Page 54] for want of upright walking with God. And sure, there might be cause even for that virgin and pure Church to condemn themselves for some spots or wrincles in that garment which is abundantly evident in those expressions uttered in the Epistles to the seven Churches in Asia: so that their afflictions through the admirable concurrence of divine providence might happen for correction, as well as for temptation and tryal. If we of this Country, the many Churches here seated, should look our faces in the Glasse, may not we have cause to take up the like complaint concerning our selves, which they often did, or were bound to do, Rev. 2. 5. They that shall wisely and seriously consider the several ingredients in this cup of trembling (we have been made all to drink of more or less) may give a near guess at the disease either we have laboured under, or are running into. It uses to be a rule with the Divine Physician as well as others obstare principiis, and venienti oc­currere morbo. If any dare be confident to say, they are not far gone of some dangerous Spiritual malady it self, what if God will have his Servants in the first planting of the Gospel in the West, have some experience of the like changes with them in the East parts of the World? or cause it to befal us as it did Nehemiah in the building of the Temple. after the return from Babylon, that they were forced to carry the Weapon of War in the one hand and the Trowel in the other.

And what if it should be found thut Israel hath sinned, and it is as yet hid from our Rulers, as well as from our selves? there hath been some things objected against the proceedings with the Indians; both in times foregoing as well as later, relating both to the present war, and former peace, of which it were sad if there were cause to say, Hac dici potuisse, & non potuisse re­felli. But I intend not to meddle with things out of my line, or above my Sphear. Therefore leaving those things that are yet latent or doubtful, and come to those things about which we may all agree, I fear, that as before it hath been said by some, God hath a controversie with New-England, so now that the rod of affliction, hath not only budded and blossomed, but brought forth its fruit, may we not all conclude, that there are some matters of of­fence, that God hath against us, that notwithstanding all threatnings, and solemn warnings both by the word as well as by the works of God, could not be reformed. Therefore God was not willing to lay aside his quarrel a­gainst us. And for this and that transgression would not tturn away the pun­ishment of New-England. I shall instance but in two things, as to my own observation, most likely to render us obnoxius to such severe animadversions from the Almighty, and wherein we have been, as I apprehend, most apt to offend, 1. Spiritual Pride. 2. A Spirit of Worldly-mindedness: wish­ing, that whatever else hath been reckoned amongst provoking evils by o­ther hands upon like occasions; might seriously be considered and amended.

[Page 55]That which leads me to pitch upon the two forementioned evils, as the procuring cause of these sad corrective dispensations of God toward us, is because it is most probable, that it is something, that lies as a worm at the root and vitals of Religion, threatning and endangering a great decay, and withering of the power of godliness, that neither civil nor ecclesiastical cen­sures can reach, which is the matter to be reformed, some secret heart evill, that is likely to bring a Consumption upon the very vitals, and power of Re­ligion; and such are those two premised evils. For the first of these, viz.

1. Spiritual Pride, it is ready to hide it self like Saul amongst the stuffe, being too often found mingled with good things and commendable vertues, vitia caetera in peccatis ipsis, superbia in ipsis recte factis timendae, pride is oft to be found in things well done. This sin hath that advantage, that it is not only consistent with, but is apt as it were to spring from our very graces, and good works, or arise among them, as Tares were found in the field where wheat was at first sown, and also found growing; men may acciden­tally come to be lifted up, upon the consideration of their gifts, parts, privi­ledges, yea graces and duties well performed. Pride, though no weed else, was found in Paradise it self, no wonder then if it should be found in the best Churches upon the Earth.

2. Spiritual pride is an evil, the very best of Gods Children are incident unto, witness David and Hezekiah, in whom it did not only bud but blossome, and Paul the very chief of the Apostles, in whom it had some kind of root, and might have budded, if it had not been nipped by the thorn in the flesh, sent him in mercy from God, that he might not be exalted above measure, and so fall into the same condemnation of the Devil.

God will rather have his people poor and humble, then rich and proud, rather pent up in a corner, then roomthy, and swoln with pride, rather di­stressed and oppressed, then enlarged to wandring and security; yea if it be but to prevent the prevailing, or the appearance of such a distemper. Serb medicina paratur, &c. therefore God will prevent the first rise of evil in his people; that there may be no spot found amongst them, so unbecoming his Children.

3. Spiritual pride is a sin very provoking and offensive in the sight of God He will hold such at a distance, it is not the spot of his Children. Davids Murder and Adultry shall sooner be pardoned without publick pennance, then his spiritual pride. There is he compelled to make a publick confession and recantation of this evil, when he sees the Angel standing with a drawn Sword over Jerusalem. What have these poor sheep done, let thine hand be against me, and against my fathers house, 2 Sam.24. Nor can Hezekiahs pride be passed by, till he humble himself greatly, and all Jerusalem with him, 2 Chron. 32. 26. Yea Paul himself shall be buffeted, as well as feel the thorn [Page 56] in the flesh, for the removal of the badge of this offensive evil.

4. This is not the first time that this sin hath been putting up head in New-England, and solemnly testified against in this place: sid verbum sat sapients.

5. There may be cause to fear, yea and to declare also that spirituall pride is too evident in New-England at this time, notwithstanding all complaints and humbling providences of God in former times. Not to make any men­tion here of that effeminate childish pride in habit, attire (which it is much the grave and prudent example of the Sober, and wiser persons, the restraint of the heads of Familyes cannot reform without the help of civill Lawes) and that in those of the meaner sort, where it most reigns and is most offen­sive. Let all things be done decently and in order. What ever the pride of any mean persons may prompt them to think, whatever is not according to order; is very indecent; sc. for the peasant to equal the prince, or imitate him in garbe or in gate, or for the handmaid to emulate her mistriss. Will not this occasion the base to behave themselves proudly against the Honourable, a fore-runner of sad confusion breaking in upon a degenerating people. Isa. 3. Kings Daughters were of old threatned for their strange Apparrel, which it may be did not much exceed some of our dayes. Soft Raiment is the cog­nizance of Kings houses, not the badge of pilgrims and strangers Familyes. Yet had the children of princes and Kings daughters their ornaments which it was not customary for others to imitate. The prudent husband-man u­ses more to be delighted in the busie, active yet sable Bee, then in the gaudy Butterfly, which it may be ranges all over the field to get only fine colours wherewith to paint her wings, from those flowers whence the other dili­gent creatures fetch both was and honey, wherewith they both build their houses, and furnish them with provision, to feed themselves, and refresh their owners, while the other are but the object of childrens sport.

Let all due testimony be borne against this kind of pride, so abounding; but it is another sort, spiritual pride, that is so offensive in the sight of God, and is indeed the root whence the other springs, with many other hainous evils that are apt to provoke the Lord to jealousie: and which is the sin of the professing part of the Country as well as of others: which is but too evident in the conceitedness of mens gifts of their priviledges, liberties and Estates, whence is apt to proceed clareness of minde, haughty looks, super­cilious contempt of others, needless separation from, rigid censures of men equal to, if not better then themselves; implacableness, with other each like disposition of minde. This is the root from whence spring all those scan­dalous breaches, sharp contentions, paroxismes of division: for only by pride says Solomon, Prov. 13. 10. comes contention: from this fountain springs those bitter strifes, in Towns and Churches, that prove like a [...]oli me tangere, that admit of no healing or remedy, but like some incurable disease [Page 57] convert the meanes applyd for the remedy to increase the malady.

Disorders of all sorts spring from hence, and that in every respect, for hence it is that Leaders are not good enough to command, and that Follow­ers are too good to obey; the Centurion in the Gospel found no such diffi­culty in his way, I say to one go and he goeth, of them that are under me, to another come and he cometh; yet was he a man under the authority of o­thers, as himself acknowledgeth. This was of old a presage of ruining dis­sentions in old Rome, Pompeiusvè parem, Coesarvè priorem, quie ferre po­test. when there are such Chasmaes and hiatus's in the superiour or inferiour parts of a state, they are sad Omens, portending ruine. The observation of the fifth Command, that first Command of promise, as was said before, leads the way to the due observance of all the rest. Were you not afraid to speak against my Servant Moses? God was never reconciled to that proud, stiff­necked unsubdued Generation that murmured and rebelled against Moses & Aaron but consumed them in the Wilderness. From this root of bitter­ness also proceed those other evill fruits of Jealousies, Envy, &c. not that holy Jealousie, or fear concerning others, the Apostle had over the Corin­thians, which he calls a godly Jealousie lest Satan should beguile them. This is nothing but a regular fear lest any thing should disturb the peace or vio­late the purity of what we love: But the other is an ungrounded fear lest others should out-doe us, or be preferred before us; not willing others should stand by us or near us, attended with a kind of hatred if they [...]. This pride also is the root of the evill affections of Envy, which is like felt water, which makes the streightest thing seem crooked that is put into it. This is a great vanity, of which the wise man complained, that for every right work a man should be envyed of his neighbour, which yet springs from this root of pride. Some entertain such an opinion concerning themselves, as they conceive nothing can be well done if they have not an hand therein, whereas Paul is content and rejoyceth that Christ is preached though him­self be shut up in prison, that the truth is at liberty though himself be in bonds. This spirit of pride maintains that office of Lying, which was com­plained of not long since in this place, detracting from, or defrauding of o­thers. Hence also is that Self-willedness, that spirit of revenge whereby some cannot bear to be opposed, but must be chief, and will have their wills though they turn every stone. Tantant animis coelestibus [...]roe. But with too many as he said tis true, m [...]s mihi pro regno. This spirit of willfull Re­venge was it, that brought that sore scourge of God upon some parts of the Christian world, for it made some that could not, as the Poet speaks, flctere Superos, Acharonta movere, that they might be revenged on those, from whom they might have received some lesser injury, for it called the Sa­racens and Moors into Spain, from whence it could never be recovered a­gain in seven hundred years. This opened the Gates of Buda, that impreg­nable [Page 58] Bulwark of Hungary, to let in the Turks, that some might have their wills of their Christian neighbours and friends, to revenge a private injury with a publick and perpetual mischief. Thus this pride of mens hearts will make them turn Indians, that they may be revenged of their Brethren. A­bram will rather recede from his right then contend with his Brother, when the Cananite and Perizzite was then in the land. O my soul come not thou in­to their secret: unto their assemblyes be not thou united, mine honour, for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall Gen. 49. 6. This is the first of the two grand evills amongst us as it is to be feared.

2. The second is like unto this as to its secret and prevailing nature, and alike odious in the sight of God, sc. That spirit of Covetousness and inordi­nate love of the world, that is so inconsistent with the love of the Father. This sin lyes as a Barr of seperation betwixt God and his people; ye cannot serve God and Mammon. This is a lust that will drown mens Souls in per­dition, 1. Tim. 6. much more their Bodyes and estates. This is apt to choak the fruit of the most hopefull Soyl; direct Idolatry, and Apostacy, no won­der therefore it is called the root of all evill. Yet doth this sin s [...]ly insinu­ate it self into the heart of the forwardest Professors, and is ready to speak to them as the Serpent did to Eve, hath God indeed said you may not meddle with this or that desirable fruit of the world. This is a sin apt [...]oly in wait for and easily ensnare a Reforming people. This will not be the first time that it hath been ready to b [...]ne Reformation, as may be seen Hag. 1. 5. for it may stand with the highest outward form of Religion, Church membership, pure Worship, and the strictest kind of discipline, witness the Pharisis that were so strict observers of the Law, & as touching the righteousness thereof, blame­less. And Judas that carried the Bag, yet was a pentioner of Satan, though outwardly in the visible Kingdome of Christ, yea in his Family, yet as little suspected as any of the rest. What complaints have been made against this sin in the Church, and Lawes made against it in the Commonwealth, yet still it lives and hides it self as if there were no coming at it. It lyes secretly lurking in the hearts of Professors, and is brooded by pretence of one thing or other Necessity, Frugality, Sobriety &c. Saul can put a specious pretence not only of civill prudence, but of Religion also, upon his covetous practice & way, expresly contradicting the Command of God. The Ballances of deceit were in the hand of Ephraim, with a secret love to oppress in his Marchandize, yet who can find any Iniquity in his Dealings, that were sin? Hos. 12.8. How are mens desires apt to be enlarged after the world as hell, & their hearts un­satisfied as the grave, that makes them able to devour widdows houses, yet never say it is enough. They that first came over hither for the Gospel could not well tell what to doe with more Land then a small number of acres yet now men more easily swallow down so many hundreds and are not satis­fied [Page 59] If they be but never so little streigh [...]ned, they must remove where they may have room enough, that can part with a good neighbourhood, and the the beautifull heritage of Church communion, or Gospel Worship, to pitch with Lot in the Confines of Sodom. There was a sad curse laid upon Jerecho the city of the Moon, an emblem of this lower world, which reformed chur­ches should trample under their feet; that whoever should build it again, should lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son, which it is well if some mens hearts doe not mis­give them, as if the hand of God that hath been writing bitter things against us, hath not amongst others written some such thing as this. Is not this to set up new Gods? Is it a wonder then that we find war in our gates. God is knocking the hands of New-England people off from the world, and from new Plantations, till they get them new hearts, resolved to reform this great evill. These things may seem harsh, yet when the Lord is crying aloud in his providence, who can for bear speaking in this kind. The Lyon hath roar­ed, who will not fear, the Lord hath spoken, who can but prophesie Am. 3. 8 Nivard in Burgundy once told his fellow brethren, Bernard & Guido, (who had newly renounced the world, and entred into Monasteryes, telling their other brother, that they had left him all their earthly possessions) that they had made no equal division, taking heaven for themselves, and leaving him what was here below, It may be God hath observed some of his children here doing the contrary, too ready to exchange the Kingdome of heaven for earthly possessions, and therefore sayes he will undoe that bargain, as we use to doe the foolish bargains of our Children. If this be the guize of New England, or that there appears any disposition that way, It is no won­der of God our great Land-lord, layes his arrest upon our tillage, and straines for his glory, as our divine Astronomer tells us in the prognostick of this present year.

The honoured and respected in the Lord, you that are the Heads and Leaders of our Tribes, I have endeavoured to set before you the two great Evills that I humbly conceive may most probably be looke upon, not as the least of the procuring causes of these chastisements; in letting loose the rage of the Heathen against us, so far as any deserving cause may be found in us.

God tells his people of old, that he will move them to jealousie by them that are no people, and provoke them by a foolish nation, i. e. by those whom they despised and must contemned. Deut. 32. 21. How have we been too apt to speak contempt by of the Indians, as if one of us; could drive hundreds of them. It may be it hath been so in former times, when God put the dread of us upon them that were round about us. Sampson after his Delilah en­chantments thought to have done as at other times, but he wist not that God was [...] from him. There is a great deal of odds, when God is with his people, and when he is against them. Providences have seemed [Page 60] strangely to work against us, but it may be to humble us and prove us, that he may doe us good in the latter end. God may have other ends also that he aims at in these solemn Dispensations, that doe not yet appear: and when he hath performed his whole work upon our Zion, he will punish the stout heart of our enemies as we trust,

One other end that God may have, may be to teach us Warre, as was said Jud. 3. 2. at least those that knew nothing of it before, which in a Sence is true of most of us. The knowledge of any thing that is gotten by experi­ence is quite another kind from that which is acquired by other meanes. We knew nothing of the practick of warr, we should never have learnt by all our Trainings and Artilleryes in former times: and it is well if they have not taught us something else, which God is now unteaching us. We see now plainly that it is one thing to drill a Company in a plain Champagne and another to drive an enemy through the desert woods. Yet Gods Isra­el need not be discouraged, God may be in the midst of us, though we doe not yet so manifestly discern him as we wish for, and is going up with a shout Psa. 45.7. He uses to sit as a Refiner over his fire. And when he hath prepared the Soyle by ploughing and harrowing he will cast in the precious Seed. Light is sown for the righteous, & joy for the upright in heart. They that sow in tears, shall reap in Joy. God doth not at any time willingly afflict the Children of men, but at no time over afflict them.

If you enquire what remedy may be prescribed against the two fore­mentioned evils, feared to be too far grown, or growing upon us: I shall at present advise but to this one Catholick remedy; and that is Chri­stian charity, there is a medicament which they call Unguentum Apostolorum so named from the number of the ingredients, this I now mentioned may more properly be so called, but rather the example and authority then the number of the Apostles, who in their writings as well as their Lord and Master in his Doctrine did so much insist upon it, Above all these put on cha­rity, Col. 3. 14. Charity is the fulfilling of the Law; so as if that had been duely attended in our hearts and lives, as well as in our professions, it would have at first prevented the miscarriages of our Churches, and may on that ground be the most likely means to heal us and revive things amongst us, to their primitive state of purity and perfection, for when did iniquity a­bound, but when the love of many began to wax cold. When a learned man in the former age once read some part of the Gospel, he suddenly broke forth into these words, aut hoc non est evangelium. aut nos non sumus evangelici, so may one say of our times, when he reads 1 Cor. 13. aut hoeo non est charitas; aut nos non sumus charitate imbuti. The genuine race of this heavenly plant is almost worne out of knowledge in the world. Paul com­plains in his time that all men sought their own things, and none the things of Jesus Christ: what would that holy Apostle say, that had the care [Page 61] of all the Churches still lying upon his heart, if he were alive and present a­mongst us in this generation.

If I had the tongue of Men and Angels, and but one hours time to speak unto you, I could not better improve it, then by pressing upon you a consci­entious care and endeavour to exercise and practise this excellent grace, this most christian virtue, which might be thought a superfluous thing thus to press, as one not long since expressed, did we only know the Gospel and not the lives of them that profess it.

And I seriously affirm, I know no way else to advance the name of Chri­stianity to its pristine glory in the world. The flourishing beauty of this heavenly grace, was that which did so strangely metamorphose the visage and face of things at first in the world, when was fulfilled that of Isaiah, that the wolf and the lamb should dwell together, and the leopard lye down with the kid. It was the verdant lustre of this divine grace, that turned the rough and barren wilderness of the world into a fruitful Carmel, or fra­grant Sharon. When the Christian World had first put on this precious at­tire of Charity, the smell of its Garments were like Lebanon, as a field which the Lord had blessed. This spirit turned Shevir and Hermon those Lions dens and mountains of Leopards into the holy and peaceable moun­tain of the Lord, where was found nothing that should hurt or destroy. But alas when this terras estroea reliquit, when this spirit of love began to decay; then did iniquity and unrighteousness break in upon the Christian world like a torrent that carried all before it. Then did the Churches Sharon return back into the wilderness again, and then the excellency of Carmel began to shake off its fruits. Then did they nothing but hurt and destroy in all Gods holy Mountains: then was the Temple of God become a den of Thieves, a cage of ravenous and unclean birds, and so hath continued ever since, and so is like still to remain, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled and the years of Antichrist be run out, unless a mighty spirit of Grace be poured upon the World: For ever since the fatal feuds and dissentions paganized and degene­rated Christendome, as one not unaptly tells them, are become the scandal of the Mahometans in the East, and we the pretended reforming Protestants of Europe, the divided sects of Luther and Calvin are become, if not the scorn of, yet less tremendous to those at Rome. And we may have great cause to fear, that the decay of this Grace in New-England, hath in a great measure been the procuring cause that hath brought this black Cloud upon the beautiful face of our Sion in these ends of the Earth. Paul complained in his time of a great decay of Charity, even where other gifts abounded: he tells the Corinthians they were carnal, and walked as men not for want of other gifts of knowledge which pussed up but for want of charity, which only edifies: in those times he found but few Timothies that cared for the good of others, but many Demasses that sought their own good, and many [Page 62] Diotrephers that sought their own exaltation, and preferment, with the under valuing and contempt of others: could Christians but be perswaded to put off this private selfish worldly Spirit, and put on humility, and charity, and manifest a publick Spirit; how would it again revive the glory of New-England Churches.

We have many complaints amongst us, could we but get our hearts stored with this Christian virtue, it would prove as a Balm out of Gilead, a sovereign remedy against all our troubles. This Grace of charity in the compleat and perfect exercise thereof would heal all our divisions, reform all our vices, root out all our disorders, make up all our breaches. This would cure all the morellianisme, and libertinisme in the Brethren of New-England Churches; and it would cure also all the Prelacy, and Presbyterianisme in the Elders of the said Churches: we should presently then have better thoughts one of another, for love thinketh no harm. So for other Maladies and Distempers in our minds, or distresses in our outward Estates, Charity would be like the Widows Oyle, that would never cease running till it had filled all the vessels. This would pay all our debts, and defray all our publick charges, This would relieve all our distressed friends, it would answer all the necessities of Church and State. This would feed all our poor, and clothe all our naked Brethren, and support all our Widows and Fatherless ones. It would maintain all our Mi­nisters so, that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel: and this would at a more honourable rate, and without repining afford the bread of the Governour. In a word what would not charity do of this kinde: publick Faith hath in several ages been bankrupt, but publick charity never was yet. The Churches Treasury of the primitive times, that was supplied only with this spring of charity was never drawn dry. Yea although the primitive christians were to encounter with all kinde of adversity, they con­flicted with Famine and Nakedness, with all kind of wants, yet was their Treasury never wasted. All the powers of the Earth were combined against them, and of Hell too, yet it never failed: I tell you if we could set up such a Bank of Christian Charity in New England, it would prove a richer Store­house then all the Spanish Mines or Banks of Venice, or Amsterdam. This would make such an equal distribution of the things of this life through the whole Camp of Israel, that he who gathered much should have nothing over, and they that gathered little should have no lack: for this with con­tentment would make godliness the greatest gains to all that trailed therein. Then would one Christian Brother, Neighbour and Friend, assist and streng­then each other, and all endeavours would be firmly engaged to promote the common good.

Thus Honoured, Reverend, much respected and beloved in the Lord I have endeavoured to commend something to your consideration from these [Page 63] words, speaking first unto you all in your several and distinct capacities, and at the last have attempted to bind you up all together in one bundle with the Bond of Charity, that bond of perfectness, could all the heads and Leaders of our Tribes be twisted together by the Spirit of love, it would make a threefold Cord that could not easily be broken: it would make our Forces how weak soever in themselves become an host like the hill of God, though not in numbers, yet in virtue and power against which our Enemies should not be able to stand up. Were our Jerusalem thus compacted together, the Gates of Hell with all their instruments would never be able to undermine it, or prevail against it. Sed hic labor, hoc opus est. It must be from [...], who hath the seven Spirits in his right hand, whence this Spirit must be ex­pected. The time and the work of the Day commands me to have done, and indeed I have but little more to add, which is only thus much,

It was the observation of a wise States man in the former age, concerning that famous and flourishing Common-wealth of the Romanes of old; In republic â Romanâ cives erant utilissimi, & optimè compositi, qui aut consules populo favibant aut tribuni in partes senatus inclinaboent, i. e. The Common-wealth of Rome never flourisht so well, as when those in the highest place of Authority were wont to favour the interest of the Peoples Delegates, and on the other hand, when the delegates of the people were most apt to incline to the Rulers to maintain the dignity and authority of all such. By proportion I may add, it would tend not a little to the advancing a Christian state, where Elders of Churches are very tender of the liberty of the Brethren, and the Brethren likewise are regardful of the office, power of their Elders; where the elder people do encourage the younger with their gentle and courteous behaviour, as well as with their grave Examples, and prudent Counsels, and the younger sort of people are ready to reverence the aged, not behaving themselves proudly against the ancient, where the rich are libe­ral, bountiful and compassionate to the poor, and the poor are likewise thank­ful and respective to the other; and alwayes will when they meet, be ready to bless each other in the name of the Lord, as Boaz and his Reapers in the field. When those of Zebulun have cause to rejoyce in their going out, and the Children of Issachar dwell quietly and live comfortably together in their Tents at home, calling the people to the mountains to offer the Sacrifice of Righteousness. When one doth joyfully gather the fruits of the Earth, as the other shall suck the abundance of the Seas, -and of the treasure hid in the Sands. How good and how pleasant would it be for any one to see the Heads and Brethren of each of our Tribes, thus to dwell together in Unity? doubt­less it would be as the precious oyntment on the head of Aaron our high Priest, a [...] of Hermon, and that which descended on the mountains of Sion, which the Lord commanded his Blessing even Life for evermore.


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