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FAITH Victorious. AS It was Represented IN A SERMON Preached to the Honourable Artillery Company in Boston, on the day of their ELECTION of Officers, June 1st. 1702.

By Benjamin Colman, Pastor of a Church in Boston.

BOSTON: Printed By B. Green, and J. Allen, for Samuel Sewall Junior. 1702.

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To the READER.

I Have a just Claim to thy utmost Candour, and am blameless, what fault soever there may be in this Publick Appearance; except it be a Fault to yield unto Those who would take no Denyal, whose Persons both by Inclination & Duty, I love and honour, and to whose Advice I owe a great deference. Possibly I have gone beyond the Rules of Decency in the obstinate Excuses I have made, if it might have been to avoid both the Preaching and Publishing the following Dis­course. But I am Over-ruled: and only entreat on the one hand, that the Gentlemen who have prest me to this Service would not judge my back­wardness to comply with their respectful desires; nor on the other hand the Reader my weakness in Emitting a Discourse with so many Defects; as I must needs own I see in this, & yet could not sup­ply without making it anew, & swelling it too big.

I confess the Subject seems to me well chosen & seasonable, were the management answerable. A serious Call to the Exercise of Faith can never be unsuitable to a Christian People: but peculiarly pro­per is it in such a Calamitous Day as this; a Day of Distress to the whole Protestant World. The Word of God almost every where and always calls us [Page] to this Duty: and at times his Providence has the same voice, and loudly tells us — when it is especially the Duty of the present Day

I hope the Reader will not expect here an Essay to un­fold the Doctrine of Faith, as it lies in the Body of Christi­an Religion: that would require a Volumn by it self, & a more masterly hand to draw it Wherefore I have not attempted to consider it any further than in its strictest connexion to the Character & Duties of Souldiers: & even as to them I have but given hints, & left the un­derstanding Christian to infer more of his Duty.

The Week after I had prepared this Discourse, arri­ved to us the astonishing News of His Majesty, King William's Death, our late most Gracious Soveraign: Which sore Afflistion makes the Subject here discoursed on the more seasonable. Wherefore I took the sad Oc­casion to drop a Tear (as in duty bound) into the Tor­rent of Grief, which overflows our Bereaved Nation.

May it please God to give us all a most affectionate Regard, and deep Concern for the Prosperity of his Church: And may he make this poor Discourse, by his Grace accompanying it, to Subserve hereunto, by putting us more on Faith and Prayer.

May the Blessing wherewith Moses the man of God bless'd the Children of Israel before his Death, come upon us & all the People of God in the World 1 There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the Heaven in thy Help, & in his Excellency on the Sky. The Eternal God is thy Refuge, & underneath are the Everlasting Arms: Happy art thou, O Is­rael: Who is like unto thee, O People Saved by the Lord, the Shield of thy help, and who is the Sword of thy Excellency!

B. Colman.
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FAITH Victorious.

Hebrews XI. 33.

Who through Faith subdued Kingdoms.

THE Power of Great and Ex­cellent Examples is so con­fessed by all men, that they have gain'd the preference to other modes of Instruction, both for Facility and Efficacy: they are more easily perceived, and do more power­fully incline to practice, than bare Precepts: they insinuate into the minds of men, and leave very strong Impressions there. And as good Examples are apt to teach, so do they strictly oblige the Conscience: they condemn [Page 2] the evil practices of others, as Noah did the Old World; and bind us to imitate, leaving us steps which we ought to follow. But a­mong all the blessed Patterns which the Christian has before him to govern himself by, none are so commanding as the Illustri­ous Saints on Sacred Record; the Patriarchs, Prophets and Apostles of the Church; of whom we ought to be followers as they were of Christ. And of all the Graces which adorn­ed those holy men of God, no one shone in them more conspicuous than Faith, and none more worthy or necessary than this to be imitated by us.

Faith, which is a grace dignified in Scrip­ture, as of the first Order and Magnitude, which is most beautiful and honourable in the sight of God, and most beneficial unto us, both as to present priviledges, and future Blessedness. Faith, which is the principal precept of Christianity, the root of Spiritual Life, and the comprehension of all Grace and Duty, the most useful part of the Chri­stian armour (above all taking the shield of Faith) and the Victory that overcometh the world. Faith, by which (as the Apostle in the Context teaches us) the Just shall live, which is to the Saving of the Soul, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and without which it is impos­sible [Page 3] to please God. Faith, which is the praise of all the Saints:—In this especially are they Examples to us, and so proposed and com­mended by the Apostle in the Chapter before us. Wherein the most excellent Persons are celebrated for this most excellent Gift, and that for its blessed fruits and marvellous ef­fects. The particular Grace, or divine Gift here celebrated is Faith, the miraculous effects of it are many and various; which are am­plified on by an induction of many famous Instances among the Children of God, from Abel to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, and so through the succeeding Worthies re­nowned in Scripture for the glorious Atcieve­ments of their Faith. Among this so great a cloud of Witnesses, the Saints of a Military Or­der make a very considerable figure, both for Name and Exploits. And these were so ma­ny, that the Apostle doth but name a few, and says, the time would fail him to speak even of their Heroick Faith: v. 32. What shall I more say? He elegantly breaks off his enumeration, and intimates it to be a thing endless to go about to number, much less to enlarge on all that could be instanc'd in. For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Sampson, and of Jeph­teh, of David also and Samuel, and of the Pro­phets; who through Faith subdued Kingdoms,— [Page 4] Escaped the Edge of the Sword,—waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the Armies of the Ali­ens.

Who through Faith: the Proposition [...], is of very various signification: It is a note both of a condition and a cause; but especi­ally of the former when with a Genitive Case, as it is in the Text.

Subdued Kingdoms: [...], signifies to fight, strive, labour fervently. It is to con­tend with a kind of Agony of Spirit, i. e. with such a degree of concern and earnest­ness. The word is often used in the New Testament, and in our T [...]ansla [...]ion is rendred by Striving for Mastery, [...] Cor. [...].25. Labour­ing fervently, Col. 4.12. Figuring, 1 Tim. 6.12. and Contending earnestly, Jude v. 3. All which phrases import vehemency of mind, an engaged resolution, and unwearied En­deavour to finish what we undertake, and accomplish what we propose. The word seems not only to note the effect it self, that Kingdoms have been Subdued thro' Faith, but also the nature of that Faith which sub­dued them: how operative, laborious and fervent it is.

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DOCTRINE. That the Victories which the People of God have gain'd, or the Salvations and Deliverances they have received from their Enemies in this World, may under God nextly and principally be ascribed to their Faith.

The Doctrine contains several distinct Truths. As,

1. That the Church and People of God have Enemies in the World, and are often unavoidably engaged in cruel War. War is very far distant from the Design and Spirit of the Gospel of Peace; but yet the present evil world neces­sarily renders the State of the Church Mili­tant. Not that the Religion of Christ pro­pagates it self by Fire and Sword, by Force and Blood shed: Let Impostors wear that brand, and bloody. Mahomes, force down the throats of his Proselites that with the rest of his shameful Doctrines. The reason is, be­cause the Kingdom of Christ is Spiritual, and not of this world: for said our Lord to Pi­late, Joh. 18.36. If my Kingdom were of this world, then would my Servants fight; then would they propagate the Faith by violence and force of Arms. Yet however, the Church of Christ is in an evil world, full of [Page 6] sin, and consequently full of confusion and misery, the fruit of sin: and hence come wars and fightings even of mens lusts; which fill them with enmity one against another, but especially against God and his Interest.

It would be too great an excursion here to Enquire, In what Cases a Christian State (which is also a Church of Christ) may Wage War? I shall only say, That to be sure the Lust of Dominion, whether temporal or spiritual; whether over mens civil proper­ties and liberties, or over mens consciences, doth sufficiently authorize it. Which is in­deed the very thing that fills the World with the noise and rumour of War at this day, the thirst of an insatiable Prince to in­slave the world, and stretch all mens consci­ences to his own size: the very Menace whereof will justifie the Confederacy against any such baneful Power, not only as just, but also pious and necessary.

2. Another Truth implyed in the Doct­rine is, That the People of God always have been, and will be finally victorious over their Enemies, and saved from them. Not that Success always waits on the just side, or that in particular Wars or Conflicts, God does not often give the victory to his own and his peoples Enemies. Nay particular branch­es [Page 7] of the Church, even whole Nations may be given as a prey to their teeth; and it has been at that pass, that there has been no appearance of a true Israelite left; so that Elijah thought he had reason for that bitter complaint, 1 King. 19.10. I ▪ even I only am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.

Yet nevertheless, the distressed Interest of God hath always out liv'd such Oppressions and seeming Extirpations. There nave been Reserves, whose knees have not bow'd to Baal, nor with their mouths have they kissed his I­mage. Whom the Grace of God has kept, and his Providence guarded possibly even from the suspicion of retaining their Inte­grity; and at long run these poor Remains have seen the ruine of their proud Oppres­sors, and trampled on the Power that once tyranized over them. Let Antichristian Ty­rants boast that they have made through work of it, and that their next Successors shall scarce know what the name of a Hugo­not means; yet God may have many Names there, whom we may name in a double sence his Invisible Church, who have not defiled their Garments, while the world wanders after the Beast. Thus it was in the tenth and last general Persecution of the Church, under Dioclesian, and some of his Successors: So incredible numbers of Christians were Mar­tyred, [Page 8] that these Pagan Emperors thought their work compleated, & in an ancient Inscription they tell the World, ‘That they had effac'd the name and superstition of Christians, and resto­red the Worship of the Gods: i. e. the Pa­gan Idolatries. But as Christian Historians have well observed, 'They were so much de­ceived, that this only hastened the destruction of Paganism, and shortly after Christianity be­came victorious and triumphant over all the Powers and Artifices of Mankind.’

The foes of Christ will be made his foot-stool; and let them rage and imagine what they will; their spite and their counsel He has equally in derision; He will break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potters vessel. So Daniel prophesies of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ, Dan. 2.44. —The God of Heaven shall set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the King­dom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these Kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

3. Another truth contained in the Doct­rine is, That to God ultimately are all the Church her Salvations and Victories to be ascribed. Not to Means nor Instruments, not to power nor policies, not to courage nor conduct: for as the whole Disposal of every thing is of the Lord, so we can't ascribe it to any lesser [Page 9] cause, without denying God and his govern­ing Providence, and placing our selves in Gods stead. An arrogance which even Hea­thens have condemned and abhorred, who tho' they had very wretched Ideas of God, yet durst they not deny this Honour to their lame Deities. So the Historian tells us of the brave Timoleon, ‘That he did always modest­ly ascribe all his Successes to the Sole favour of Providence, and would be often saying, that he was very thankful to God, who having a mind to preserve Sicily, was pleased to ho­nour him with the Name and Title of that De­liverance he vouchsafed it. And yet this Su­perstitious Warriour had no better Notion of a Deity, than having built a Chappel in his house, he dedicated it unto Good Hap, and Sacrific'd thereunto as to some Sacred Genius that favour'd him.’ And yet verily this ridiculous Superstition of a blind Heathen will judge the profane Christian, who know­ing more of God and his Providence, yet less reverences and honours him.

We read of Constantine the Great, that upon the first Conviction he received of the truth of Christianity, he caus'd a Royal Standard ‘to be made in fashion of a Cross, and to be born before him in his Wars, as an Ensign of Victory and Safety: and when he had rescued miserable Rome from the Tyranny [Page 10] of Maxentius, and was Saluted by the Peo­ple in the style of their Father, their Saviour, and the Author of all their Happiness, he taught them to ascribe all to God alone, and attribute nothing to him. Moreover, in the right hand of the Statues, that were erected to his Honour by Decree of Senate, he caus'd to be engraven the figure of the Cross, with this Inscription on it, In this Overcome Which action, however dange­rous in its Consequence, leading to Gross Su­perstitions, yet carries this Instruction in it too, That the Christian Warriour is to expect all his Victories from, and to ascribe all he gains unto, his Almighty and once Crucified Re­deemer.

The Holy Scripture abounds with many plain Assertions to this purpose; teaching us, That the Race is not to the swift, nor the Battel to the strong: The Horse is prepared against the day of Battel, but safety is of the Lord, Prov. 21.31. That there is no King saved by the mul­titude of an Host: a Mighty man is not delivered by much strength: A Horse is a vain thing for safety, &c Psal. 33.16, 17. We therefore find David after all his Victories giving the honour of them all to God, Thine, O Lord, is the Greatness, and the Power, and the Glory, and the Victory, and the Majesty: And so Israel on the banks of the Red Sea triumph in their Sa­viour, [Page 11] I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; The Lord is my Strength and Song and he is become my Salvation: The Lord is a Man of War, the Lord is his Name.

4. And lastly, The last and chief truth to be insisted on is, That nextly and principally under God, the Church her Salvations & Victories, may be ascribed to Faith. So in the Text, who through Faith subdued Kingdoms.

It is necessary that this be first proved as to matter of Fact, and that we then enquire whence Faith receives this Power & Efficacy.

1. It is a matter of Fact asserted; and it is to be proved by Testimony; and this from the Record and History of the Churches Wars, especially that part of them which is transmit­ted to us by God Himself, in the Holy Scrip­ture. Which do afford us many plain In­stances of the Power and Prevalency of Faith, in the Victories which the people of God have from time to time gain'd over the Enemies of God. To name a few in the Order wherein they ly in Scripture.

The Salvation and Victory of Israel at the Red Sea, was the fruit of Faith: v. 29. By Faith they passed through the Red-Sea, as by dry Land; which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. On the Bank of the Flood stood [Page 12] the Believing Prophet, and issued out this only Order to the Army of Israel, Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: This was all they had to do in this famous Overthrow of Pharaoh and his Hosts; to wait upon God with a quiet com­posed frame of Spirit, and a believing expecta­tion of Deliverance.

What was it but Faith, that defeated Ama­leck? In vain did Joshua fight below, when Moses in the Mount let down his Hand. The Rod of God in the hand of Moses did more than all the Spears, Darts, and Instruments of War, wielded by the whole Army of Israel.

What but Faith subdued Jericho? v. 30. By Faith the Walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. No bat­tering Engines were applyed to lay level the Impregnable Walls, nor ladders to scale them. They compassed the City day after day, but scarce beseiged it; and on the seventh day no general Assault was appointed, to carry the place by Storm: Only the Priests blew with the Trumpets, and Faith (which can remove Mountains,) shook down the strong Fortifi­cations; her proud Walls and lofty Towers.

It was Gideons Faith that discomfited the Host of Midian: It was the Sword of the Lord and not his that smote them. What weapons [Page 13] of War did he and his poor Army bear? Every man his Trumpet, his Pitcher and his Lamp: Faith sometimes needs no more to conquer by.

Nor was it so much the Jaw-bone in Samp­sons hand, that slew so many Heaps of the Phi­listines: but Faith gave the Odd weapon temper and an edge; and strengthned the hand that held it.

Samuels Faith also routed the Invading Phi­listines, as we read, 1 Sam. 7.10. And as Sa­muel was offering up the Burnt offering, the Phi­listines drew near to Battel against Israel: but the Lord Thundred with a great Thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them, and they were smitten before Israel.

Faith storm'd the Philistines Garrison. Let us go over (said the Heroick Prince, to his Ar­mour-bearer) unto the Garrison of these Uncir­cumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord, to save by many or by few. 1 Sam. 14.6.

By Faith David Encounter'd and Slew the formidable Monster of Gath. His Faith ob­tained Sauls leave to enter the lists with the prodigious Champion: Thy Servant (said he to King Saul) Slew both the Lion and the Bear: and this Uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defyed the Armies of the Living God: David said moreover, [Page 14] The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the Lion and out of the paw of the Bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said, Go, and the Lord be with thee. Faith opposed a Shepherds Crook and a pitiful Sling to the Giants Armour and weighty Shield: Thou comest to me with a Sword and with a Spear, and with a Shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts the God of the Armies of Israel, whom thou hast defyed. Some of the Fathers have made Davids Staff to be an Emblem of the Cross of Christ; and the Stone he slung, an Emblem of the Omnipo­tence of Faith.

To name no more, Hezekiah by Faith over­threw the Hosts of blaspheming Seunacherio. The good Kings Prayers obtained invisible succours, and the Angel of the Lord smote in the Camp of the Assyrians in one night, 185000 men.

Let none say, that these Instances are fetch'd from the Age of Miracles, when wondrous ap­pearances of God were frequent; but that Faith is not of any efficacy in our days under the Gospel. I might Answer ▪ That the grounds of Faith are more clearly revealed, the Spi­rit of God who worketh Faith in us is more shed abroad, and the Primitive Christians at least even excelled the Old Testament Saints in Heroical acts of Fortitude. It was indeed [Page 15] mostly in a passive way, (like the Faith cele­brated in the close of the Chapter) but yet in a short time the Faith of the Confessors subdu­ed the Empire. And when Christianity had gain'd the Countenance of the Supream Au­thority, and had the Armies of the Empire for its defence, though Miracles grew rare, (as there was less need of them, and indeed if they were wrought on the Churches behalf, yet could be less discerned,) yet who dare thence infer that Faith then lost its vertue or efficacy, and that ever since it has had no hand in the Church's deliverances or enlarge­ment? God forbid, a Christian should make his Faith so vain a thing.

But this will appear in a better light, if we proceed to the Second thing proposed; which is,

2. To enquire, Whence Faith receives its Power and Efficacy, to be able to effect such Sal­vations and Victories for the people of God? And here it is necessary to observe, both that there is nothing in Faith to hinder or obstruct the Christian Souldier in Conquering his Ene­mies, and on the other hand, there is much implyed in Faith to promote and effect it.

1. There is nothing implyed in Faith to hin­der and obstruct the Christian Souldier in pursu­ing and obtaining victory in War. Indeed [Page 16] were the conceits of some men just, and ac­cording to truth, never had Faith subdued Kingdoms; but Infidelity had run away with the Empire of the World, and all carnal Conquests. Did Religion only require of us [...], a meer belief, with­out the ordinary exercise of prudence and reason, or the use of proper means to defend our civil or sacred Rights; then indeed a Chistian would be the most unmeet of all men to bear Arms, and would do least with them. But it is far otherwise in truth: Faith neither supposes the use of Arms to be need­less nor unlawful. Not needless, for it suppo­ses Prudence in Exercise: it is quite another thing than Presumption: it does not encou­rage the Drone to be idle, in expectation that the Dew to morrow morning will be transubstantiated into Manna; nor the Soul­dier to lay down his Arms, and look when the Stars in their Courses will fight for him. Much less does Faith condemn the study and practice of War as unlawful. The stu­dy of the Art of War is not only lawful, but also honourable, and a necessary duty: and so is it (when God calls us) actually to engage in it. Prayers wont do without sui­table Endeavours. While Moses is in the Mount, Joshua must fight below, and shew his utmost skill and courage too in Engaging. [Page 17] David went against Goliah in the name of the Lord of Hosts, but yet he took a Sling in his hand. And observe it, That where God wrought without Means he usually appointed some Sign, he required some Action from his People, before he would work for them: they must shout, or blow the Trumpets, or break their Pitchers and shew their Lamps, if they did no more. And where no such posi­tive, arbitrary sign was appointed, they were always to use the ordinary means in Confi­dence of the Divine help. And so are we at this day: Faith looks unto God, but in the way of Blessing, which is the use of proper and appointed means. The Historian (if it be lawful to name here a Heathens notion of Trust in God) records it as a shameful In­stance of the Cowardize of King Persens, ‘That when Battel begun, he would with­draw under pretence of Sacrificing, while his Conqueror Emilius pray'd for Victory with his Sword in his hand.’

2. There is much imply'd in Faith to promote and effect Salvations and Victories for the People of God. And that in two respects; As it gives Courage and Resolution, and as it en­gages the help of God.

1. Faith is a Grace which in its own nature tends to beget, and inspire the Breast with Courage [Page 18] and Resolution. It carries something of bold­ness and assurance in the very name, and is a principle that prompts unto daring actions. It has been an old Observation, That the bold­est in War are some of the very best or worst of men: the last act like wild Creatures, and 'tis their brutality and stupid thoughtlessness that gives 'em boldness. But the gracious heart is truly valiant, and acts upon the best Principles while it shakes off Fear, and faces death un­daunted. As,

1. Faith tends to inspire the breast with courage, in that it realizeth the Presence of God, and confides in his Help. It enters the field of Battel with this sense, that we have an absolute Dependance on God in every thing we un­dertake: that nothing can fall out beside his order and allowance: that a more special Providence concerns it self for the safety of his own Interest: that the presence of God with us is security enough: that he can suc­ceed means, and even work without them: give skill, or deprive of counsel: inspire with courage, or dispirit as he pleases. Now if the Faith of the Presence of so glorious a Being with us, will not fill the Soul with courage, what can do it? The Lord is on my side, I will not fear, what can man do unto me? Psal. 118 6. From hence slow'd Davids cou­rage, and he grows so confident upon it that [Page 19] he beats a Defyance to the whole World should they arm against him single and alone: Psal. 27.1, 2, 3. The Lord is my light, and my Salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is the strength of my Life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine Enemies and my foes came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stum­bled and fell. Though an Host should encamp a­gainst me, my heart shall not fear: Though War should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Faith sees the Invisible Hosts that encamp where God vouchsafes to reside; as Elisha beheld the Mountain covered with Horses & Chariots of Fire, and could then comfort his dispirited Servant, and bid him not fear, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. Even Heathens have took cou­rage from the belief of the divine Presence with them: When it was told Numa once that the Enemy was near, he answered with a smile, That he fear'd 'em not, let 'em come at their Peril, for he was then Sacrificing Much more may we expect from the Worshippers of the True and Living God; and so indeed we find it to have been: When the army of Israel sent for the Ark of the Covenant to the Camp to Save them, they received it with Shouting so that the Earth rang again: It gave new Spirit, life and vigour to them. On the contrary, how disheartning is the ap­prehension [Page 20] of the want of Gods gracious presence with us, or his being with those whom we are against? So the Philistines when they heard the noise of the shout in the Camp of the Hebrews, and understood that the Ark of the Lord was come into the Camp; they were terrifyed exceedingly, for they said, God is come into the Camp: Wo unto us: Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these Mighty Gods? Despair seiz'd 'em to the last degree (though God made use of their des­perateness, (which next to Faith has done most wonders in War) to correct the fond and Superstitious Confidence of his own Peo­ple, who foolishly thought that the Ark, the outward Symbol of the Divine presence only, could save them.) The Prophet Habakkuk in his Divine and Triumphant song, elegant­ly represents this Matter; how justly the Tokens of Gods Majestick Presence daunt his Enemies, and may encourage his People: God (says he) came from Teman, and the holy One from Mount Paran, his glory covered the Heavens, &c. — Then I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the Curtains of the land of Mi­dian did tremble, Hab. 3 7

2 Faith gives courage, in that it makes the Souldier act in Conscience of Duty to God and his Interest. Some List into War out of a barba­rous delight in Blood, some for hire and [Page 21] Plunder, and some for Fame and Posts of Honour: but none of these will animate to Battel like the Conscience of duty. To March against an Enemy with this thought, I owe this to God and to my Country; the Church of Christ requires this Service of me: the cause is Gods, and my call to engage in it is clear; I am in my way, and Religion forbids me coward­ly to desert and betray it —: What can more strengthen the hands to fight?

So I have seen in this Land, a devout and heavenly Commander (whose Praises should be in the Churches, especially on this occasion and to this Audience) take leave of his friends with great comfort, press'd with the Con­science of duty to his Lord, and with love to his Members. He went out in the Spirit of the good Saint John, as one convinced that he ought even to lay down his life for the Bre­thren: and in the hour of Battel so he fought, with a boldness which Faith only could In­spire, and some extraordinary Impulse only could warrant: He dyed truly like a Christi­an Hero, encouraging his Souldiers, and prais­ing God for the little advantage gained; and scarce ever was the Power and Fortitude of a gracious Principle more visible than here. The Conscience of duty should be the best Argument in the Souldiers Breast, and the spring that impels him to act. This Argu­ment [Page 22] Joab used to his Brother Abishai, 2 Sam. 10.12. Be of good Courage, and let us play the men for our People, and for the Cities of our God.

3. Faith is courageous, in that it acts in the hope of a blessed Immortality. Such is the Faith celebrated in the Context, which is the substance of things hoped for, &c. Such was Abrahams Faith, v. 10. For he looked for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Such was the Faith of Moses, v. 26. For he had respect unto the Recompence of Reward. And such was the Faith of all the rest, who all ho­ped for a better Resurrection, v. 35. And it was this blessed hope that heightned their Courage: for Death loses its Terrors to him that has made his Peace with God, and is assured of going to Heaven. We may indeed well grow Giddy when the prospect before us is only a Gulph without Bottom: the profane man may well stagger at the sight and flinch back: But to lift up our eyes to Heaven, and be able to say, Let the worst come that can, let Death meet me, yet I goe thither; What is there to dispirit such a Saint? Why does the Cow­ard turn back and fly from the Battel? Surely, tis the Conscience of his own wicked life, and the wretch fears to die: Judgment and Hell are before him, and truly then the least danger of Death is a fearful and astonish­ing [Page 23] Risque. But the Righteous hath hope in his Death; What great Hurt can he see in it? If he falls in Battel, he's yet Victorious in the best sense, a Conqueror over his worst Foes, and is near a better Triumph than Earthly Victors can have decreed them.

We see then that Faith does in its own nature tend to inspire courage, which is one reason why so much is ascribed to it. But there is a better reason yet behind; which is,

2. Faith is a Grace which doth especially en­gage the Help of God. To be sure, it is He giveth salvation unto Kings, and carries vi­ctory in His Almighty Hand. If then Faith engages God on our side, it renders us Invin­cible. Now this it does, (1.) By promise; and (2.) In it self, being what God must needs delight in.

1. By Promise. It is the Soveraign Plea­sure of God, and his positive determination, that if we would engage his presence and help, we must be found in the exercise of Faith. Of all those Martial Saints in the Context 'tis said that they obtained a good re­port thro' Faith; but without Faith it had been impossible for them to have pleased God, or obtained his help. In every strait Faith is to be in Exercise, and in every difficulty it has the promise of Help from Christ: Mark [Page 24] 9.23. If thou canst believe, all things are possi­ble to him that believeth. Suppose now that Faith were meerly an arbitrary Precept, and no other reason could be given for its obli­gation but the will and good pleasure of God; yet since God requires it of us if we would engage his help, it must needs be ne­cessary to, and effective of Salvation to the Church: for the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent. Add unto this,

2. That Faith in its own nature is a Grace wherein God cannot but delight. As without Faith it is impossible to please God, so on the exercise of it, it is impossible he should be displeased; & no doubt but he will afford his help where he places his delight. Now that Faith is so pleasing and delightful to God is easily argued, and necessarily infer­red; in that,

1 It takes us off from all unlawful means and actions, in whatsoever we engage. These for­feit and lose the Presence and Protection of God, and are like Achan to the Army of Is­rael, to cause them not to stand before their E­nemies, and to provoke God to say, I will not be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Faith puts the Chri­stian Souldier upon seeing to it that the Cause [Page 25] be just wherein he engages, and his Call sufficient. It will not act out of a delight to op­press, which is inhumane cruelty; nor for the lust of Dominion, which is unjust Rob­bery and Pyracy. It will maintain truth and keep faith when once given, nor seek advantages by treacheries and perfidiousness. It will keep up the reverend exercise of Re­ligion in Armies, and banish vices out of the Camp; where they too often do abound, — Debaucheries, Profaneness, Stealth, Sloth, Disobedience to Superiours, criminal Emula­tions, Envies, Contentions, Hatred, Murthers, &c. Where there is no regard had to these things, there is no ground to hope, for the Divine Presence. God will not lead such li­centious Hosts, who if they gain Victories will but seek the Enlargement of Hell, to add to the Territories of Satan in the world, and to propagate their own vile spirit of A­theism, profaneness, cruelty and luxury; in open contempt of Gods Name and Laws.

2. Faith in the Souldier must needs be ve­ry pleasing to God, for therein he most consults Gods Glory. It takes him off from trusting in himself, or ascribing success to means and in­struments. It debases second causes in ho­nour of the First, that He may be exalted. Psal, 44.6, 8. I will not trust in my bow, neither [Page 26] shall my sword save me, In God we boast all the day long.

Faith owns the Being and Providence of God: and gives him the Glory of his Infi­nite Perfections. It confesses his Power, his Righteousness, Truth, Wisdom and Sove­raignty; relying on these, and resigning to them. Now God delights to see his Crea­tures (and more his Children) acknowledge him in all their ways: for the End of all things is his Glory. Plutarch tells us, ‘That the Romans of old thought it of more impor­tance to the Publick Safety, if the Magi­strates reverenced the Gods, than if they overcame their Enemies.’

3. Faith must needs be pleasing to God, and of great efficacy with him, because it [...] us upon Prayer; and serious, humble, fervent, constant seeking to him. Faith is most exerci­sed, and best express'd in Prayer; and Faith makes Prayer prevalent. The Lord is far from the wicked; but he heareth the Prayer of the Righteous. Prov. 15.29. And again, Psal. 145.18, 19. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him; to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he will also hear their cry, and will save them.

Faith gives us suitable Dispositions of Soul in Prayer. It comes from a gracious heart, [Page 27] the frame of the mind is good, and heavenly and devout.

And Faith fills the mouth with proper ar­guments to plead with God in Prayer. It will plead the Divine Goodness and Compassion: an Argument most suited to a gracious na­ture. It will plead the Promises of help, which God has made to his People: and the Truth of God affords a fast hold for Faith. It will plead the Helplessness and wretched weakness of the People of God in themselves, Amos 7.2. Then I said, O Lord God, forgive I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small? It will plead the Power, and Pride, and Blasphemy of the Enemies of God: Wherefore should the Heathen say, where is their God? and, Lord! What wilt thou do for thy great Name? Finally, It will plead Gods All sufficiency: that he is able to save; That Our Father in Heaven is greater than all, and none can snatch them out of his hand. Thus Faith will pray and wrestle, and carry Heaven by violence, and like a Prince have power with God and prevail.

4thly and lastly, Faith cannot but be de­lightful to God, and of great efficacy with him, in that it implies Holiness both of heart and life. This is ascribed to Faith, that it purifi­eth the heart, and is Twin with a good Con­science. It infers a new Nature, and the [Page 28] work of Sanctification to be wrought in us. And consequently it implies a holy life, and exemplary Conversation: together with the Being, the Practice also of all other Evangeli­cal Graces. Faith looks unto Christ as our Great Commander, the Captain of our Salvati­on, prepares to follow him our Leader, is careful to observe his Orders, dutiful to his Commands.

And will Christ forsake such his faithful Followers? Will he not afford unto such his Presence and Assistance? What qualifies us for it, or gives a title to it, according to the promises of truth and grace, if not Holiness. Psal. 5. ult. Thou Lord, wilt bless the Righteous, with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield: Unto the Righteous Nation, that keepeth the truth, God will appoint Salvation for Walls and Bulwarks: thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee, Isa. 26.1, 2, 3. This was Gods Covenant with Israel of old, as Moses num­bers it among the Blessings of Obedience, Deut. 28 9, 10 The Lord shall establish thee an Holy People unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the Commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways: And all People of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of thee.

[Page 29]Thus Faith engages the Almighty's Help by attracting his delight: and from him come the Churches Victories and Salvations.

USE.

I shall Improve this Doctrine in one single Inference, and so close in a brief Address to the Honourable Company who have called us together.

The only Inference I shall offer, is, That we may hence learn one great reason of the poor Condition which the Interest of Christ in the World is fallen into at this day. Truly, the Church of Christ has lately been in sorrow­ful and bleeding circumstances: the doleful cries of suffering Saints have been loud, and so have the Blasphemies of their Oppressors. What Convulsions do the Nations at this day feel under the presages of bloody War, and threatned with a deluge of Popery? The Re­formed Interest is far less potent, and at a lower ebb, than in Ages past. And what may be the reason of this sore frown of God upon his Interest? Alas, the reason is too vi­sible, Faith, and the necessary fruits of Faith are wanting. 'Tis partly through foul avow'd Apostacies from the Truth, and more thro' the general corruption of Manners among those that retain a Form of Godliness.

Do you ask, Where are the Churches Victories [Page 30] now? Where her Triumphs? Why does she not Increase, and enlarge her Borders? And may I not as well ask again, (as I remember an excellent Person doth in a like case) Where is Faith to be found in Exercise? Where are Believers? How cold and dead is our modern Profession? Can Faith be without Holiness and good Works? or can it consist with profaneness, debaucheries, and every abomination? These are the Foes that lay waste the Heritage of God: These the false Traitors that undermine the Church. The lusts of Professors are the worst Weapons formed against that Community which they pretend to be a part of; and sheathed with unnatural bruitishness in the bowels of their common Mother. No wonder Amaleck pre­vails, when there are so few holy and clean hands lift up in the Mount. So that if the Church of Christ have lost ground instead of gaining, yet it argues not that Faith could not have rendered it victorious, and can yet do it: but it is rather a shrewd sign that Faith is wanting. Hear ye me Ala, and all Judah and Benjamin, The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

[Page 31] It remains now only to do my Duty to You Gentlemen of a Military Order, who have plac'd me here this day. I have laid before you a piece of Armour that has been proved: a [...]hield famous for its Antiquity and its Use, having been the Ornament and defence of every Heroick Saint from the first War of Cain. Doubtless I do well to bespeak you as Christians, and Good Souldiers of Jesus Christ: and under such a Character Faith within is as necessary an Accomplishment, as Arms without and skill to manage them. Nay it is plain that you expect we should consider you as Christian Souldiers, inasmuch as you have not now invited us into the Field, but to the Church, the House of God. We all now take it for granted, that you appear here with real and honest Intentions actually to engage for the defence of the Cause and Churches of Christ, if War, or Invasions should come upon us, (which may it please God to forbid.) Why else do you solemn­ly call us together, to ask a Blessing from God on these your Preparatory Exercises, and to encourage you from Gods Holy Word? but that you give us leave to expect that when War invades us, you will stand in the Front of the Battel; and as men studyed and experienced in these Affairs, will lead on [Page 32] to every Danger. God is not to be mocked, nor Holy things to be play'd with?

You know your own character too well (Much Honoured Fathers, the ancient Chiefs in our Military Orders, whom Age and Of­fice, and we hope Grace have long since digni­fied) You know your own Character too well, to have honoured the Exercises of this day with your Presence, where they only Lusory and Sportive. And (I hope) You the Younger Gentlemen in Arms are come hi­ther in conscience of the Duty you owe to God and your Country; and that you con­sider the Character of a Minister too well, and the Solemnity of this Place and Presence, to have call'd me hither to Sport with you.

I am sure the Subject you have been En­tertained from is awful and serious. The Examples set before you are most Grave and Venerable: Men Eminent for Holiness as well as Courage, and all of them the Chil­dren of the Most High.

You see (and I might have made parti­cular Inferences to this effect) that, other things equal, the more Religious you are, the better Souldiers are you. You see your Calling, and what must accomplish you for [Page 33] it: What is to render you Invincible, and more than Conquerors. This is not in you by nature, nor is it an acquired gift: You cannot command it when you list, but yet are not Compleat in your Arms without it. How say ye, we are mighty and Strong men for War? Jer. 48.14. Faith only can make you truly so, and that is to be received from God.

Be Exhorted then to seek It of God, and be always found in the Exercise of this Grace. What could I urge with more hopes at once to Serve the Land in general, and your Souls in particular? What could I press of a more universal Concern than this Precept of Faith? It concerns every Soul present: Those of us, whose Age, Office or Constitution excuses us from engaging in War, yet even We may by Faith and Prayer help on the Churches Victories.

The very Women, who are not made for the Hardships and Dangers of War, yet may become Famous, and celebrated for their Faith, and worthy to be named with the Best of men: As the Apostle doth 'em this Honour, in the 35th. Verse of this Chapter. The Prayers of a Gracious Woman in the Closet at Home, may be louder before God, than the Thunder of the Captains and the Shouting. [Page 34] Nay a Womans Faith has been needed to encourage the Souldiers Heart in Gods Cause: So Deborah to Barak, Up says she, For this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: Is not the Lord gone out before thee.

Moreover, The State of Gods Church in the World at this day, makes it most suitable that we should exercise Faith as well as Arms. If ever Faith was needed in War this is the day? How formidable is the Increase of the Power of Persecutors? the Union of France and Spain. Were there not an Over-ruling Providence, and were not Christ the King of the Church, King also over all the Children of Pride, how desperate might the poor Pro­testant Interest seem. Our Faith and Prayer is all the assistance we can lend to the Ar­mies abroad who may be Fighting in Gods Cause; and truly we have nothing better to trust unto, for our own Defence and Security at home.

And as an Illustrious Instance of Martial Faith, I would crave leave to name our late Sovereign Lord KING WILLIAM the Third, of Glorious Memory: than whom as no Prince was ever bolder in Bat­tel, so none ever fought more by Principles. His Belief imbold'ned him in all the Dan­gers [Page 35] He faced. I am satisfyed, Gentlemen, you desire no better Example, and a [...]er those on Sacred Record, there is none more agreeable can be presented to you.

And having named this Royal Person, I cannot but call to mind the many Salvations and Victories, which Faith has obtained, and the Church of Christ has received, by His Arms. We our selves have seen the strange, and next to Miraculous, effects of Faith and Prayer in our days. What was it that Sav'd England, and routed an Unhappy Prince at the head of a vast Army, and yet scarce a drop of blood shed? When Tyranny was trampling on the State, and Popery stood ready to mount the Pulpit, when Law and Religion were forc'd to couch before the Assumed Absoluteness of the Court, and were Sold at a cheap price by Mercenary Judges. Dejected Britain then call'd for our dutiful Tears and Prayers, under ten thousand O­mens of evil, and no door of Deliverance visible. Then God arose, for the Oppression of the Poor, for the sighing of the Needy, to set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. Then God moved the Brave and Generous Prince to attempt our Deliverance: God gave him Faith and unknown Hopes, else however Mighty His Mind was, he could not have [Page 36] engaged a Power so Unequal. We stood amaz'd at the Miraculous Salvation: We wonder'd how it was effected, and could only adore the Might and Grace of God our Saviour. Millions of Prayers went up from gracious hearts, and Faith subdued, or rather Sav'd, Three Kingdoms.

Lo here an Instance of what Courage Faith can inspire, and what Help it can en­gage from God. By this which we have seen at home, and in our day, we may be con­vinc'd, That Faith can yet Subdue Kingdoms, escape the Edge of the Sword, make Valiant in Fight, and put Armies of Aliens to the Rout.

Let all this strengthen your hands, and en­courage your heart in the work wherein you are Engaged. Be always in this Spirit; let Faith animate you, and it will also prosper you.

Here I had ended my Address to you, but that the Providence of God has put a more Melancholly Argument in my mouth, and sent us the loudest call imaginable to the duty now press'd upon us The Death of the best of Kings, and most Renown'd in Arms, is an awful Alarm to us, to be the more in the Exercise of Faith.

[Page 37]It cannot be deny'd but that among all means and instruments of Safety, the Pre­sence of such a Soveraign, both at the Coun­cil Table, and in the Field of War was most to be relyed on. A Prince of Une­qual'd Wisdom, Courage and Vertue. How confidently could we rely on God under such a Judge and Saviour, miraculously rais'd up for us? While he Presided in every Re­solve, directed in every Important Step, in Person headed the most great Attempts, and by his Example spirited the backward to the boldest Actions? If Greatness of Mind, Magnanimity and Courage; if expertness in War and Insight into Policies and Stratagems; if a conspicuous Piety and Reverence of God-,—might promise help. A Prince in whom his Army as it were liv'd, and tri­umph'd in his Name and Conduct. A King of many Prayers, the delight of his People, the Sanctuary of Oppressed Nations, the Scourge of Tyrants, and in the prime of his Age.

Snatch'd away in so critical a point of time, when the World seems just entring in­to War, and the eyes of all men were up­on him, their greatest Expectations (under God) from him, and Empires & States wait­ed for his Determinations, to take their Mea­sures by. The Fall of such a Prince, & in such [Page 38] a time, how general is the Calamity! Cer­tainly it will heighten the Pride of the com­mon Enemies and Oppressors of Mankind; and Faith must support and respirit the Berea­ved Interest of God in the World. The God of Armies, the Lord of Hosts yet lives! The God of Jacob is our Refuge.

I little thought, Gentlemen of the Artillery, to have Mourn'd before you this day, the loss of Him who was the Head and the Glory of your Order. How justly may you now Fold up your Flying Ensign, and hide it under some Sable Veil: March — not in wonted chear­fulness and State, but with folded Arms, and dejected Eyes, and trail your Pointed Weapons in the dust: Nor let your Warlike Musick sound, but in Hoarse and Solemn Notes of Grief.

Yet to despond, though under this Amaz­ing Dispensation, were an Injury to the Great God, who first gave what he has taken away; who has oft' delivered, and in whom we trust that He will yet deliver.

We are too apt to Deify Mortal men, and Idolize those whom God honours to be the Instruments of His Church's safety. Far be it from us to do this, and deny the God that is above. Let us remember those, who through Faith out of Weakness were made strong: Let [Page 39] us pray to God, for a double Portion of the Spirit of Wisdom, Courage, Piety, and Ho­liness to be poured out upon Her Present Ma­jesty, Our Sovereign: God Grant the QUEEN a Long and Victorious Reign, to finish all that which has been so Happily and Piously undertaken for the [...]fence of His Church: and the Lord Sell Sisera into the Hand of a Woman!

So it becomes us to Hope and Pray,—but always with this Caution, which God Him­self has seen it necessary to give us— Put not your Trust in Princes, nor in the Son of Man, in whom there is no help. His Breath goeth forth, he returneth to his Earth: in that very day his thoughts perish. (His noble Purposes, his good and great Designs die with Him.) But Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his Help; whose Hope is in the Lord his God; Which made Heaven and Earth, — which keepeth Truth for ever: which execut­eth judgment for the Oppressed: — The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all Generations. Praise ye the LORD.

FINIS,

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