THE EXCELLENCY OF A …
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THE EXCELLENCY OF A Publick SPIRIT Discoursed: In a SERMON, Preached in the Audience of the General Assembly of the Province of the Massachu­setts Bay in New-England, May 27. 1702. Being the day for Election of Counsellors in that Province.

By Increase Mather.

Psal 119 46

I will speak of thy Testimonies before Kings, and will not be ashamed.

Deesse patriae quoad vita suppetat turpe est, sed Camillo, nefas est.

BOSTON in NEW-ENGLAND: Printed by B Green, & J Allen, for Nicholas Boone, near the Old Meeting House. 1702.

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The Epistle Dedicatory. To His EXCELLENCY, Joseph Dudley, Esqr. Captain General and Governour in Chief of the Province of Massa­chusetts-Bay in New-England.

SIR,

WHen I was by the Repre­sentatives of this Province in the last General Assem­bly desired to Preach on the Day S [...]ated for the Election of Counsel­lors, it was hoped that your Excellency might have been with us before that time. Since you could not hear, I am willing you should see (if you shall think it worth your Perusal) what I then delivered, not doubting but that you will Seek the Wealth of your People, who are dear to Christ, and by the Letters you were pleased to send to me when in England, I perceive that they are so to you.

In the first place I Congratulate your safe Arival to your Country, and to your Desirable Relations, after so long an ab­sence. A mercy which doubtless you [Page] have Prayed to God for many an hundred time. Now then let your Excellency give me leave to speak freely to you, & to say, That our Holy Lord Jesus Christ expects much from you. For He has trusted you with Five Talents, for every one of which you know Sir, that you must be accoun­table to Him who has given them to you. He has blessed you with rare accomplish­ments both natural and acquired; & has now put into your hands a Talent of Po­wer and Authority, as that there is no Person in all New England, so advantaged to Serve and Honour Christ, by promo­ting the Welfare of these His Churches, as you are. The Providence of God has been wonderful towards you▪ In some Remarkables you have been like Ioseph. Let me pray you to imitate Ioseph, not only in Seeking the good of th [...]se under your Government, as He did; but in a perfect forgetting whatever may have seemed grievous unto you. Nor do I speak this, as i [...] I believed you needed an Exci [...]ation thereunto. You have (I am well assured) that Greatness of Soul in you, as to disdain any thought of revenge. If a Noble Roman when advanced to great Ho­nour [Page] could say to his mortal Enemy, jam Evasisti, how much more does such a greatness and generosity of Spirit become a Christian?

Your Honourable Father (whose Me­mory is blessed) has a lasting Monument Erected for him in New-Englands Memori­al; wherein 'tis truly affirmed of Him, that He was a principal Founder and Pillar of the Colony of the Massachusetts, and that He was a Nursing Father to these Churches of Christ; one that loved the true Christian Reli­gion, & the pure Worship of God, & Cherished as in his Bosome all Godly Ministers & Christi­ans. He was exact in the practice of Piety, in his Person & Family all his life. He lived de­sired & dyed lamented by all Good men. This and more is spoken concerning Him in the Book mentioned. And a great deal more might be, & is related of his Exemplary Piety in the Church History of New Eng­land, newly Printed at London.

Now Sir, since I know not what better wish to conclude with, I earnestly pray to God, that you may be such a Governour to this people as your Eminent Father was in the former Generation. So I [...],

Sir, your Humble Servant, Increase Mather.
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To the HONOURED Representatives of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England, Now in General Court Assembled.

Much Honoured,

AS it was at your desire that I have Published the Sermon preached on this last Election Day. So that you & others may see that I am not alone in the Advice that has been set be­fore you, Respecting the Recommendation, of the Order of the Gospel, professed & practi­sed in these Churches, as declared in our Platform of Church Discipline, which is that whereby New England has been distingui­shed from all other Plantations, and that so every word may be Established by two witnesses, I am willing to reinforce it with some passages, which I find in a large Let­ter sent to the Representatives, in a former General Assembly ▪ by that Reverend man of God Mr. Higginson, who is the most a­ged Minister of Christ surviving among us.

For when the two most aged Ministers in the Country, left in the Hands of the [Page] Churches not long since a Testimony wherein were these words.

Concerning all sinful attempts to overturn the Order of the Gospel hitherto upheld in the Churches of New-England, and to spoil that Glorious Work of God which we have seen Him doing with a Series of Remarka­ble Providence, in Erecting such Congre­gational Churches, we would now bear our Testimony, That they are doubtless displea­sing to our Lord Iesus Christ, who Walks in the midst of these Golden Candlesticks, and they will prove bitterness in the latter end.

The Representatives of the General As­sembly then Sitting did express so much concern for the Churches, as to Vote their Thanks should be rendred unto those Re­verend Persons for this their faithful Te­stimony. At which time also one of them, (namely Mr. Higginson) did in a Letter, all drawn up with his own hand recom­mend that matter which is in the Sermon emitted here with again proposed. In which Letter are the following words.

I look upon it as my Duty, in a few Lines (that may not be mistaken) to Declare unto your selves, That I did and do own that [Page] Testimony [above mentioned] as my own Act and Deed, and also to give an Account of my Reasons for my so doing.

First, Because I desire to be found among the number of the Witnesses of our Lord Iesus Christ, who said of Himself, Joh. 18 37. For this end was I born, & for this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth, and Act. 1.8. Ye shall be wit­nesses unto me. Now I believe with my heart, and do confess with my mouth; That the Platform of Discipline (for the substance, end and scope thereof) doth contain such a part of the Truth of Christ relating to his Kingdom, and the Order of His Churches that I dare not but bear witness unto it, and against any that shall Rise up in opposition thereunto.

Secondly, Because I desire to be found amongst the Number of the Followers of those Holy men of God who composed it, who were our Fathers and Elders, and who lived and dyed in the practice of the same Truth, and who yet speak to us from the Dead, Be you Followers of us, as we followed Christ. 1 Cor. 11.1.

Now for a Conclusion (saith he) Give me leave I beseech you to propound it to your Seri­ous Consideration, whether your selves as Re­presentatives [Page] of the Country, in this Hour of Temptation, be not called of God to give forth your own Testimony to the Platform of Dis­cipline, and against such Innovations as be­gin to appear in New England now in these Days: [...]n doing of which, you will be follow­ers of the General Courts that have been be­fore you, from the Beginning When the Platform of Discipline was first published by the Synod in the year 1648. It was solemnly owned by the General Court, who added their Attestation to it, & recom­mended it to all the Churches as agreeable to the Word of God, and as a Directory of our Profession and Practice in point of Church Order. If some such thing should be done at this Court, you will approve your selves Follow­ers of the General Courts that have gone be­fore you, & that you mind the things of Christ, as well as your own things of a civil nature, I am perswaded it will be a Service accepta­ble to God, honourable to your selves, and a matter of joy to all the good people of the Land & a good Example to Posterity for all, time to come. Consider whether it may not be very useful, if not needful at this juncture of time for the Honourable Court to Order the Reprinting and Publishing the Platform o [...] Discipline, with the General Courts Attestation [Page] to it at the first, and your own Attestati­on to it now. Thus that Reverend Person.

I cannot but rejoyce in that he has left such a Faithful Testimony now when he is just going to a better World, by which being Dead he will yet speak. I likewise re­joyce in that a whole Association of Faith­ful Ministers of the Lord have lately a­greed to Encourage the Republication of the Platform of Church Discipline, as also the Result of our other Synods.

It is much more a matter of joy, that God has inclined your hearts who are the Representatives of this Province with a great Unanimity to concur in Voting the Re­printing of those Synods. I hope it is a to­ken for good, and a sign that the Lord will not destroy New England, neither cast them from His presence as yet ▪ 2 King. 13 23. Our Fathers were not ashamed to own their Re­ligion. The General Court of this Colony in the year 1660. Concurred in an Address to K. Charles II. In which they declare the Rea­sons of their coming into this Wilderness, & that it was purely with respect to the Order of the Gospel. It will be good for us to be Established in the present Truth; & that Po­sterity should see that what their Fathers [Page] did profess and practice, was according to the Scriptures. We know not what hours of Temptation may overtake us, or those that shall come after us.

The never enough lamented Death of our late King of glorious memory, has made way for great calamities to break in upon the Protestant Churches. If they are in a flame, will not some of those sparks fly over to New England? New England could not have lost a greater friend. How often have I heard very kind expressions respecting His Subjects in New England proceed out of that Royal mouth, which I cannot now think of without bleeding sorrow. It was doubtless from a singular favour which His Majesty had for His Subjects in this Pro­vince, that He was graciously pleased to Commission one whose Birth and Educa­tion has been amonst us, and whose Ho­nourable Father many years since Sustain­ed the like Relation, to be our Governour.

We have great cause to acknowledge the Royal favour of Her present Majesty, Queen Anne in Renewing a Commission for the Government of this Province to be continued in the same hand in which His late Majesty had left it. And it is mat­ter [Page] of great Thankfulness to God that there is now on the Throne a Protestant Princess, who has Emitted a Proclamation against Immorality & Irreligion, & has shewed a singular tenderness to Her Subjects, tho' differing in their sentiments as to circum­stantials in Religion. A Queen on the English Throne was an happy instrument of bring­ing down the pond Spaniard. May Her present Britanick Majesty humble the pride of France, all Europe will have cause of joy.

As for what concerns this poor Coun­try: If the King of Heaven will take us under His Divine Protection▪ we need not fear tho' the wa [...]ers be troubled, and the mountains shake with the swelli [...]g thereof. The way to ingage him to be for us, is not to desert His Cause▪ or to be either asha­med or afraid in the most publick manner to assert His Truth, but rather to do as those who have g [...]ne before us have done, esp [...]cially those who have taught us the Word of God, whose Faith we ought to follow. So may we hope that the God of our Fathers will be with us as he was [...] them. Which is the Prayer of him who▪

Yours to Serve you in the Lord Increase Mather.
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THE Publick Spirited Man.

Esther X.3.

— Seeking the Wealth [...] his People, —

COncerning the Penm [...] of this porti­on of Scripture, there are Various Conjectures. It is gene [...]ally thought that it was written [...]y Modecai. Only Philo Iudaeus tells us that Ioa­ [...]him a Son of the high Priest wrote this book at the desire of Mordecai. It is not necessary for us to know who was the Author, as long as we know that whoever it were, he was divinely & so infallibly inspired in what he delivered unto us. The Church of the old Testament to whom were committed the Oracles of God, did with great care preserve them. And with them this book was not only esteemed as Sacred, but they had a more then ordinary veneration for it. It is (as indeed the greatest part of the Scripture is) Historical. We have therein an account of [Page 2] as great a distress, and as wonderful a delive­rance of the Church of God, as ever hapned in any age of the World; which came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus one of the Kings of Persia: but which of those Kings is controverted: Aha­sureus is a Persian word, signifying one that has Majesty. The dignity of the person is signified thereby, but it is not a proper name to distinguish one man from another. As Pharaoh was a common name to all the Kings of Egypt, and Caesar to the Roman Emperors, so was Ahasuerus to the Kings of the Medes; and of such Persian Kings as were of the Median blood. But there are chiefly two persons concerned in the Histo­ry of this Book, who were near Relations, both of them good, and at last great ones. One was Esther made a Queen of Persia, who was born for the welfare of her People. The Jews there­fore call this Book Megillath Esther, the Volumn of Esther, because she is the principal person spoken of in it. The other great and good per­son treated of therein is Mordecai the Jew. Of whom three particulars are noted in this verse. (1) His advancement, He was next unto the King. i. e. next in Power and Authority. He was under the King the chief Ruler. (2) Here is noted the Esteem which he had with them that were both his own and also the Lords people: He was great among them, i. e greatly esteemed and honoured by them. And accepted of the Multitude of his brethren. Commonly if [Page 3] a man is advanced he is envied of his brethren It was not so with him; his brethren rejoyced at his prosperity. (3) We have his behaviour under his Advancement, in the words before us to insist on. He did as became one in so pub­lick a station. He shewed that he was a man of a Publick Spirit. The providence of God put into his hand a great opportunity to ad­vantage himself, as to his own secular Interests, but his heart was rather set upon promoting the welfare of his people. He sought good for them, as the Original carries it. i. e. He endeavoured both by word and deeds to promove those things which would be for their good. And this is written in the Book of God to the everlasting renown of Mordecai, and for the instruction of others that shall read or hear of it.

The Doctrine which the words afford unto us, is,

That as Rulers ought to be of a Publick Spirit, Seeking the Welfare of their People, so when they are such, it will be to their lasting Renown

The D [...]ctrine before us may be confirmed in three Propositions.

PROP. I. Men ought to be of Publick Spirits▪ I [...] it true (as in the next Proposition we shall shew) such a Spirit is a Grace requisite in some men above others. Nevertheless, it is that which every man should have. This is an All [Page 4] concerning Truth. The Commandment which says, Love thy Neighbour as thy self, enjoyns this on every man. Therefore dos the Scripture say, 1 Cor. 10 24 Let no man seek his own, that is to say, not that only, but every mans a­nothers wealth So then every man ought to be of a Publick Spirit. No man may be, and no good man is under the d [...]minion of Cains Spi­rit, who said, Am I my brothers keeper? Yes. Every man should be concerned for his brothers preservation and prosperity.

This will appear if we consider what things are implied in a Publick Spirit.

1. Men ought to be affected with other mens Condition, and especially with Publick concerns as if [...]hey were their own. Thats one thing implyed in a Publick Spirit. Where there is such a spi­rit, there is a sympath [...]zing with others: and that ought to be. Rom. 12 15 R [...]joyce with them that rejoyce, and weep with them that weep. The contrary to this argues a private, s [...]fish spi­rit. When if a man is in prosperity hims [...]lf, he cares not who is in misery: If he has plenty he cares not who has poverty. The holy Apostle was of another spirit, 2 Cor. 11 29 Who is weak, and I am not week? who is offended, and I burn not. Especially we should be concerned for the Publick Interest. Ier. 22 10 Weep ye not for the dead, but weep for him that goeth away, for he shall return no more, nor see his native Coun­try. That is, dont weep so much for the loss [Page 5] of your particular friends, as for the Publick Calamity which is coming on the Nation: In this did our Saviour Christ give the greatest In­stance of a publick Spirit: He shewed more concernedness for the misery of others, than for his own particular sorrows, though they were great­er than ever any mans, when he said to the daughters of Jerusalem, Weep not for me, but weep for your selves and for your Children, Luk 23.28. And when he considered what was coming on that City, He wept over it, because they knew not the things that concerned their peace, Luk. 19 41. Most of all the concernments of the Church of God should ly near to our hearts. Vriah shewed that a pious and publick Spirit ruled in him, when he had more regard to the condition of the Lords People, and of the Ark of God, than to his own domestick concerns. So Nehemiah was much affected and affl [...]cted when he heard that in Jerusalem they were in great distress. And the holy Penman of the 137. Psalm, preferred Ierusalem above his chiefest joy.

2. Men ought to, and a Publick Spirited man will, not only desire but Endeavour the welfare of others, especially of the Publick Interest. This also is implyed in Seeking. Mordecai sought the wealth of his people, that is to say, he endea­voured all that was in him to promote the [...]r welfare. The like is spoken concerning Ne [...]e­miah the Governour of Iudea, when that [...] was made a Province, & a Governour set [...]ver [Page 6] them by the King He was a man that sought the welfare of the Children of Israel, Neh 2 10. He endeavoured it with all his might. Saying and wishing without real endeavours and deeds, is not seeking. If a man seeth his brother na­ked or destitute of daily food, and shall say to him, be thou warmed, and filled, but shall do nothing for him, what dos it profit, Iam 2.15, 16. So if a man shall pretend that he wish­eth well to the publick Interest, but dos no way endeavour the promotion of it, he is not a true seeker of it. A Publick Spirited man will im­prove whatever Interest he has in endeavours to promote the publick good. He will im­prove what Interest he has in Heaven for that end, by praying, and stirring up others to pray. By this did Abraham shew a publick Spirit, in his Intercessions with God for his perishing Neigh­bours. So did Moses, and Aaron, and Samuel, and all the holy Prophets and the godly Kings of Iu­dah, by fervent prayers to God endeavour the welfare of their people. Or, if he has a great Interest with men on earth, he that is of a pub­lick Spirit, will improve it for the benefit of o­thers and not of himself only; especially if he has a singular interest in great ones, in whose power it is to promote the welfare of many. The Prophet Elisha b [...] this manifested his rea­diness to endeavour ano [...]hers welfare. He said to one, 2 K [...]g 4 13. What is to be done for thee, woul [...]st thou be spoken for [...]o the King. [Page 7] Thus did Esther shew a publick spirit in re­questing the King in whose heart she had the greatest interest, to be kind to her people. So Mordecai in this way sought the wealth of his people; it is therefore said in the next words, that he did speak peace to all his Seed. When any of them resorted to him, notwithstanding his advancement, he received them with much courtesie and kindness; but the words may be read thus, Seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace for his Seed, that is for his Coun­try men who were of the same blood with him. Then the meaning of the words is, that he improved his interest in the King and Court of Persia for the good of those that were both his and the Lords people. It is noted in the first verse of this Chapter, that the King laid a Tribute on all his Subjects, both on the Conti­nent and in the Islands; which probably was by the advice of Mordecai: only some Writers have said, that Mordecai prevailed with the King not to impose that Tribute on his Iewish Subjects.

3 Every man ought to, and one of a Publick Spirit will deny himself out of respect to the good of others Such an one will deny himself as to his worldly interests, provided he may thereby promove the welfare of his people. Such a Spirit there was in the Holy Apostle when he said, I seek not yours but you, and I will gladly spend and be spent for you. 2 Cor. 12▪ 14 15. [Page 8] The like Spirit was in the fore-mentioned Go­vernour Nehemiah: He might have exacted Money and Corn of the poor people: Other Governours that had been before him did so; but he did not eat the bread of the Governour, that is, did not require that maintainace which as a Governour was due to him; but consider­ing the poverty of the Country, and that he had an honourable Salary from the King who gave him his Commission▪ He was not willing to be chargeable to the people. Neh. 5 10, 14, 15 One that is of a Publick Spirit will deny hims [...]lf as to Honour and Reputation in the World, in case He may thereby be the more instrumental in doing good. Thus Moses out of regard to the people of God denied himself of the honour of a Kingdom. Heb 11 24 He refused to be called the Son of Pharaohs Daughter: Historians tell us, that that Daughter of Pharaoh was the Heiress of the Crown, the then King of Egypt [...] only Child So that Moses by being adopted by her, b [...]came Heir apparent of the Crown of Egypt: This Glory He refused when the accepting of it was attended with such si [...]s and snares as would have rendred him uncapa­ble of being serviceable to the Lords people, with whom he was willing to take his lo [...]t whether in prosperity or in adversity. The grace of a Publick Spirit where it prevails, will make a man prefer the w [...]alth of his people a­bove that of his own person or Family▪ This [Page 9] we see in Gideon, who when the men of Israel said to him. Rule thou over us, and thy Son, and thy Sons Son also, for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Median; H [...] made a most self-de­nying and religious repl [...] to them, saying, I will not rule over you, nor shall my Son rule over you: The Lord shall rule over you Judg 8▪ 22, 23 We have an [...]ther great instance of such a Publick Spirit in David, who when he saw the destroy­ing Angel standing over Ierusalem with a drawn Sword in his hand, said unto God, Let thy hand I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me and on my Fathers house, but not on thy people that they should be plagued 1 Chron. 21.17. Thus did he pre­fer the [...]nterest of his people, especially consi­dering that they were the people of God, above that of his own person or Family.

4 The man that is of a Publick Spirit will hazard himself for the Publick Interest He will not only deny himself, but i [...] called thereto, will encounter the greatest difficulties and dan­gers for the Publicks sake: Yea, he will not re­fuse to hazard his life for it. Thus did Gideon: His Son did Justice for his injured Father in declaring it. Iudg. 9 17. My Father adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian. The like to this is noted concerning the Governours of Israel in the time of the Judges, as we see, Iudg 5 9. My heart is to­ward the Governours of Israel that offered them­selves willingly among the people. It was tho' a [Page 10] lawful, a very dangerous attempt which the people did ingage in to make a Revolution, when they were in the hands of a powerful Ty­rant. Th [...] Governours, that is to say, the Chief men amongst them did willingly hazard them­selves with their meaner brethren for the com­mon safety of them all. Thus also did the Tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali discover a pub­lick Spirit. Vers 18. They jeoparded their lives to the death in the high places of the Field. That they did to save their Country from ruin: Such a spirit there was in Aquila and Priscilla; The Apostle speaks thus concerning them, Rom 16.4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the Churches of the Gentiles. They considered that the Welfare of many Churches was concerned in the preservation of Pauls life, and were there­fore willing to h [...]z [...]rd their own lives to save his We have also an illustrious instance of this in Queen Esther; she had reason to think that the King had conceived some displeasure against her, considering that he had tak [...]n no notice of her for the space of thirty days past; sh [...] knew what had befallen Vasti the former Queen upon an light displeasure of the King: She likewise knew that if she appeared at Court execept the King should happen to hold out the golden Sc [...]pter, she must [...]y; so that she run a desperate hazard to save her people, but was willing to perish rather than they sh [...]uld [Page 11] perish. This brings to mind what is reported concerning a Royal Lady in France, who was Daughter to King Lewis 12 She had under her protection divers Protestants who were in the same Castle with her. Th [...] Duke of Guise sent a Company of Souldiers to demand the Protestants to be delivered into his hands The Commander threatned that with his Canon he would batter down the Walls of the Castle. To whom she like a Protestant, and like a Prin­cess replied, ‘Do if you think it best, but as soon as ever you have made a breach in the Wall of my Castle, I my self will come and stand in the breach, and see if you dare kill me who am the Kings Daughter:’ Whereup­on the daunted Enemy departed.

PROP. II. Thus to seek the Wealth of their People is in a singular manner the duty of Rulers. To be of a Publick Spirit is the duty of all men, but especial [...]y of th [...]m that are in publick place. The Truth before us will appear in several things.

1 It is evident from that Relation which is be­tween Rulers and their People They are call [...]d Shepherds, often so in [...]he Scripture. It belongs to a Shepherd to take care of the safety of his Sheep, to defend them from Bears or Wolves, or any that would make a prey of them. Thus ought R [...]lers to do. Mic 5.5. When the Assy­rian shall come into our Land, then shall we raise [Page 12] against him seven Shepherds, and eight prin­cipal men A good Shepherd will venture him­self far to save his Sheep from destruction: As we know David when he k [...]pt his Fathers Sheep▪ ventured his life to deliver some of his Flock out of the paw of the Lion & of the B [...]ar: Such an Heroick Spirit does become a faithful Ruler. They are also styled Fathers; When Ioseph was (like Mordecai) advanced to be next to the King in the Government of the Land, it was cried before him, Abreck, which seems to be an Egyptian word, signifying, Tender Father. Ioseph deserved the Ti [...]le, having approved himself a Father to that Country, in providing for their welfare, and saving them from ruin. Gen 41 43 It was for this reason that Deborah was styled a Mo­ther in Israel, because she was chief in Go­vernment, one that Judged Israel. Iudg. 5.7. Not only the Lords people, but the Gentiles esteemed their Rulers as their Fathers. A­mong the Philistins, Abimeleck was the name they gave to their chief Ruler It was not a proper, but an appellative Name, l [...]ke that of Ahasuerus among the Persians The English of that word is, My Father the Ruler. The Romans called their chief Ruler, Patrem Pariae An Heathen Writer could say, Bonus Princeps non d [...]ffe [...]ta bono patre. A good Ru­ler does not diff [...]r from a good Father▪ Now a Father cannot but be concerned for [Page 13] the welfare of his Children. His Children can't suffer, but he'l sympathize with them. He'll prevent their dangers, redress their injuries, pro­cure their happiness to the utmost of his power. So should Rulers do: Such a Magistrate was that Godly Prince in Arabia, holy Iob, who could say▪ I was a Father to the poor. Job 29.18 And such an one was Eliakim, of whom it was predicted, He shall be a Father to the Inha­bitants of Ierusalem. Isa 22.21. Again, Ru­le [...]s are the Heads of the Body Politick [...]Hear this ye the Heads of the House of Iacob, and Princes of the House of Israel. Now it belongs to the Head to take care of the Body, and of every member in it: They are the Eyes of the State, as Iob said, He was Eyes to the blind As Ministers in the Church are to be instead o [...] eyes to their people, & therefore have the name of Seers and of Watchmen given to them. So are Magistrates to be instead of Eyes in the Common-wealth. The Egyptian Hieroglyphick for a Chief Ruler, was a Scepter with an Eye in it. It conc [...]rns them to fores [...]e dangers coming on [...]heir people to prevent them, and to oversee the M [...]nners of their people to reform them.

2. The Proposi [...]ion before is evident, consi­dering that the Welfare or Ill-fare of a People de­pends very much on their Rulers. If they are, & do as ought to be, their people will fare the better for i [...]; but if they do amiss, the people will suffer for it. When David numbred the [Page 14] People, those poor Sheep were killed. Delirant Reges pl [...]ctuntur Achivi. Two or three p [...]ti­culars may be mentioned here, which will make this Demonstration evident to us.

1. It is manifest from those Scripture compari­sons whereby Rulers are described▪ e. g. They are compared to Foundations: Because of the Iniquity found among all the Rulers in the Nation un­der Sauls Reign, the Psalmist complained that all the foundations of the earth were out of course. Psal. 82.5. Hence the Hebrews call a Ruler by the name of Adon from Eden, which signifies a Basis or Foundation. So the Greek [...] If the Foundation is solid, the Su­perstructure may stand, but if that be sandy or rotten, all falls to ruin. Hence also they are compared to Corner-stones. Zech. 10.4 Out of him came forth the Corner, that is the Ruler. The main stress of the Building lies on the Corner-stones; remove those and the House cannot stand Hence also Rulers are compared to Pillars; When Saul was chief in Govern­ment, he granted Commissions to very Ungod­ly men, he loved to prefer such; but when the Government came into Davids hand, he was all for preferring good men, and by that means he saved the State from ruin: He therefore spe [...]ks, as in Psal 75.3. The Earth and all the Inhabi­tants thereof are dissolved. I bear up the Pillars of it. The safety of an house depends on the pil­lars of it; if they fall all is in danger.

[Page 15]2. A people are either happy or miserable ac­cording to what Religion is among them. Prov. 14.34. Righteousness exalts a Nation, but Sin is a reproach to any people. By Righteousness, [...] Religion is meant: This makes a people pros [...] ­rous and famous in the world; but when sin is tolerated, then they become infamous and mise­rable. The Romans of Old imputed their great prosperity to their singular care about Religion. Altho' they were Strangers to the true Reveal­ed Religion, without which no Eternal Happi­ness is to be hoped for in another world, never­theless, in many things they followed the di­ctates of the light of nature; they would en­courage vertue, and punish vice; and they found that when they did so, Heaven blessed them the more for it. But when the Body of a People make a profession of the only true Re­ligion, and practice accordingly; God is wont to pour down his blessing upon them abundant­ly. It is said, 2 Chron. 12.12. that in Iudah things went well; they reformed what had been amiss among them, and were the only people in all the world at that time, among whom true Religion was found, and then things went well with them; The Providence of God smiled upon them, so that their broken State was recruited; but if a people once degenerate as to their Religi­on, then it is wont to go ill with them Judg. 5.8. They chose new gods, then wars were in the Gates, This truth was of old Preached in a General [Page 16] Assembly, when the Representatives of the People were Convened, an inspired man of God said to them, The Lord is with you while you are with him, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Chron. 15 2. And in that Chapter it is ob­served, that for a long season Israel had been with­out the true God, and without a teaching Priest, and without the Law, and in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, for God did vex them with all adversity. Now then it is very much with Rulers to make and to keep their people religious. They may do much that way by their Example; and they ought to be to those under them patterns, not only of moral ver [...]ue, but of true piety; they should excel others in goodness as much as they do in power. It was excellently spoken by Cyrus (tho' an Heathen Prince) that that man is not worthy to Rule, that is not more vertuous than the most of th [...]se over whom he does Command A Great man if he is a good man, will by his Ex­ample do a great deal of good; as on the o­ther hand if he is a vicious man, his example will be pernicious to many: When Rehoboam forsook the Law of the Lord, all Israel did so with him. 2 Chron. 12.1. They may likewise do much towards the promoting of the Interest of Religion by their Authority as well as by their Example. It is true, that Co [...]science is not to be imposed on; nevertheless it is a great error to think, that the Civil Magistrate has no­thing [Page 17] to do in matters of Religion; Why then are they called God [...] Psal. 82.6. I have said ye are Gods. Have Gods nothing to do in matters of Religion; That name of their Of­fice puts them in mind of their duty. One man in Supream Authority may have that influence as to cause a whole Nation to become visibly religious; so it was with the Children of Israel, when the Lord raised them up Judges, they would serve the Lord as long as that Judge li­ved, but when the Judge was dead, they cor­rupted themselves and served other Gods. Iudg. 2.18▪ 19. When they had Kings over them, if the King were of the true Religion, the peo­ple would be so too; but if he were an Idola­ter, then they would be so. And in our own Nation it has been so. In the Reign of our English Iosiah (Edward the 6th.) the Nation was of the Protestant Profession; when he was dead, and a Popish Queen got into the Throne, what a dismal change was there throughout the whole Realm in a few weeks time. I have sometimes been affected in reading the Martyr, Ridley his pathetical Lamentation for that Apo­stasy. Wee see, then that R [...]lers may make their people either happy or miserable, b [...]c [...]use of that influence which they have on the Reli­gion of their Subjects.

3. The Welfare of a People depends much on what Laws they have. Good [...] Walls and Bulwarks for the [...] [Page 18] Peoples Liberty and Property. They are the very Sinews of the body Politick. Next to Religion, the happiness of a People consists in Civil Liberties. The Jewish Writers have a Celebrated saying among them, That if the Sea were Ink, and the Heavens Parchment both would not be enough to Write down the Praises which are due to God for Liberty. Now civil Liberties are secured by the Establishment of Righteous Laws for that end. That which the Legislative Pow­er ought to aim at is not so much the Interest of a particular man, as of the people in gene­ral. The light of nature says, that Salus populi est Suprema laex, the safety of the People is the Supreme Law. Nor ought there to be any Law which shall be really prejudicial thereun­to. Among the Venetians if any proposal is offered, the first E [...]quiry, is, will this which is proposed be for the welfare of the Republick? So it should be in the establishment of Laws, but such Laws cannot be without the concur­rance of the Rulers of a People. These things shew that it is their duty in a special manner [...]o seek the Pub [...]ick welfare.

PROP. III. That when Rulers do thus it will tend to their lasting Renown. Mordecai ▪ doing thus has caused him to be renowned in all suc­ceeding Generations. And many others have had their worthy deeds recorded in the Book of God, which is a thousand Times greater honour [Page 19] than to have them spoken of in any other Book. I shall mention but two particulars, which will clear and confirm the Truth now before us.

1. They that seek the Wealth of their People, are usually much Loved and Honoured whilest they Live, and much more after they are dead. It is too true, that there is wicked Ingratitude in the Hearts of men, whence Publick Bene­factors have been ill rewarded by those whom they have laid under the greatest obligations. Thus did the Children of Israel deal by Gideon although it was by his means chiefly that they enjoyed singular Liberties both Civil & Sacred. Yet they did not do to him according to the de­serving of his hands, Judg 9.16. Nevertheless, natural Conscience has that power in men that except prejudice prevail against reason, they cannot but value those that have sought the publick Interest. The Jews looked upon such as worthy of honour. They said concerning the Centurion, He is worthy, for he loveth our Nation, and has built us a Synagogue, Luk 7 4, 5. The Jewish Writers sa [...] concerning one of their high Priests whose nam [...] was Simon, that he sought the Good of his Nation in such wise, as that his Authority and Honour pleased them well, and [...]ha [...] his honourable name was therefore [...]enowned to the End of the World Yea, and the Gentiles had those in high esteem who had sought the weal of their Country. The famous [Page 20] Roman Orator was wont to say, that if he could gain Immortality by prejudicing his Country, he would not accept of it. And he was exceeding­ly Loved and Honoured. It is reported of him, that when he was by means of Clod [...]us forced into Exile, besides the whole body of the Senate, there we [...]e above Twenty thousand men put on Mourning Apparel, and when he had liberty to return, almost all Italy went out of their Towns to bid him welcome home The Gentiles used to chuse those to be their Kings who had done great service for their people. And it was counted an honour to their Kings themselves, to be styled [...], benefactors. Some such have been Loved so as that others have been willing to lay down their lives for them Although such Instances have been rare, yet some such there have been. Hence the Apostle speaks, as in Rom▪ 5.7. Peradventure for a g [...]d man some would dare to dy. By a good man in that place a great Benefastor or one that has done much good, is intended. Some among the Gentiles have shined with moral, and with that which they call Heroick Vertue, so that they would readily part with their Lives to Save their Country. So among the Romans, the Curij, and the Decij, and the Horatij, by which they obtained a lasting renown in the R [...]man Histories, unto which the Apostle seems to have respect. So among the Grecians those young Spartaus were made famous who offe [...]ed [Page 21] their lives to save their Country. The people there had dealt babarously with the Ambassa­dors of Darius Histaspis the King of Persia (supposed to be that Ahasuerus spoken of in the Book of Esther) which inraged the Persians against them, so that they resolved to destroy that City. Thereupon they called a General Assembly, and proposal was made whether there was any man that would dy to save Spartae from destruction. Two noble young men readily offered themselves to be made a Sacri­fice to the wrath of Persia, and accordingly went to the Emperor signifying that they came to offer their lives to appease his anger for the wrong done by their City to his Ambassadors, praying that their people might be spared. Themistocles is famous on the like account. His people dealt very injuriously with him notwith­standing singular services he had done for them, so that he was forced to remove into another Land. There were great offers made to him, in case he would appear in Hostility against his Country: but rather than do so he chose to dy. That was a brave rare Spirit in him, and made him honourable to Posterity. Serviceable and publick Spirited men, such as have sought the weal [...]h of their people, have not only lived de­sired, (as Mordecai in the Text before us did) but they have dyed lamented. We have many Instances [...] in the Scripture. Hezekiah was a man that set himself to promote the welfare of [Page 22] his people both in Temporals and in Spirituals, and he was greatly loved and honoured both living and dying 2 Chron. 32 33. They buried him in the chiefest of the Sepulchres of the Sons of David, and all Iudah and the Inhabitants of Ie­rusalem did him honour at his death. The like to this is noted concerning Ieh [...]jada the Priest. They buried him among the Kings because he had done Good in Israel, both towards God, and towards his House, 2 Chron 24.16. Iosiah was ano­ther that set himself with all his might to seek the wealth of his People. And how did all good men Lament and their hearts bleed over his Grave? It was the greatest Mourning that ever was known among the Jews, so that it grew into a proverb, as the Mourning of Hadra­drimon in the Valley of Megiddon Zech 12.11. That is as the Mourning for Iosiah who was slain at Hadradimmon, which was a Town in the valley of Megiddon And a long time after in their Lamentations, that is, in their funeral Elegies on other persons, they would drop some tears over Iosiahs Grave. 2 Chron. 35 25. Many other Instances there are in Scripture confirming the great Truth before us, which I omit. Histories also do abundantly declare it. Never was there man in the Roman Em­pire whose Life was so much desired and his death Lamented by all good men as that of the great Constantine, who was the greatest blessing to the Empire that ever it enjoyed in [Page 23] any one man I shall only add, that we have seen a recent and Royal instance of this, in our late QUEEN of glorious Memory who (like another Queen Esther) sought the welfare of her People. And was resolved, if the Lord had continued her life but a while longer, to have used her utmost endeavours towards the effecting of two things, which had it been done the Nation would have been happy, viz. A Reformation of manners, and an Union a­mong al [...] sincere Protestants, and never was there a Queen in England, that lived more desired or that dyed more Lamented. And as they that have been great blessings to the World are usually honoured whilest they Live, so much more after they are Dead. Eminent men whilst living are objects of much envy, but they are less so when dead. —Livor post fata quiefcit. Some that would run out against Moses whilst alive, were ready to worship him after he was dead. The Iews would build the Tombs of the dead Prophets, and garnish the Sepulchres of the Righteous, who when living were little regarded by them. Mat. 23 29. There has through the subtilty of Satan been a sinful ex­cess in this respect. The Gentiles did Idolize their great men after their death. The great Apostasie of the Christian World has been in their making Gods of departed Saints. Men are apt to run into extreams.

[Page 24]2. The Lord Iesus Christ will take notice of them before all the world at the last day, who have with a sincere heart sought the Wel­fare of his people If they have done this out of love to the name of Christ, and with an unfeigned desire that God might be glorifi [...]d, all men and Angels shall hear of it, in that General Assembly, which will be when the whole world shall appear before his Judgment Seat. Whatever Service any man has done for God or for his people, Christ knows it, and has with him a memorial of it. He therefore said to the Angel of the Church in Thya [...]ra. I know thy Service. Rev. 2 19 He knows both what men do, and wha [...] principle it is that does act them in what they do. If from a principle of Faith and Love, Christ will acknowledge it, and praise them for it 1 Cor. 4 5. Iudge no­thing before the time, until the Lord come, who will make manifest the counsels of the heart, and then shall every man have praise of God; that is every man that has been faithful to the Interest of God, and of his people. Christ when He comes will manifest the fidelity of his Servants before all the world: He will say, this Servant of mine was in such a place, and there did such a Service for my name, and in another place he did another Service. He sustained such and such Relations, and was faithful to my Interest in those several Capacities. Not the least Service has been done to any one of those [Page 25] that belongs to Christ, but it shall be gloriously rewarded in that day; if it has been but a cup of cold water it shall not lose a reward. Mark 9 41. Then eminent Services will be much more rewarded. If he that shews kind­ness to one that belongs to Christ shall not los [...] his reward, they that have done good to hun­dreds, to thousands, to many whole Flocks of Christ, shall be considered by him according­ly; who has said, that he will give to every one according as his works shall be. He re­wards his Servants with no less then a Crown, yea, with a Crown of Glory which fadeth not away.

VSE I. For Instruction and Informa­tion.

Inf. 1. This lets us see the great Evil which is in being of a priva [...]e self-seeking Spirit. When me [...] will do nothing but as their own Interest l [...]ads them; I [...] any thing is proposed, they do not consider, will this be beneficial to the Pub­lick, but will this be for my profit and all▪ Publick Interests must truckle to their private conc [...]rns. There is an ungodly proverb which some have in their mouths, who say, Every one for himself, and God for us all; nay, but if every on [...] should be for himself, God would be against us all There is a sinful self-love which is the root of many and great evils. Many complain of bad Times; but what's the reason that the times are bad? All springs from this root. [Page 26] [...] ▪ Tim. 3.1, 2 In the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves. There are no fewer than 19. evils men­tioned by the Apostle, as making the Times pe­rillous. This of inordinate self-love is set in the fore-front of all: Men will be lovers of themselves, and then it follows, they will be co­vetous, proud, blasphemers, and the rest. Some­times one man by seeking to advance himself has brought great misery on whole Nations, and has caused rivers of blood to be shed. Not many years ago, all Europe was in a flam [...], Ci­ties and Villages not a few, yea whole [...] were made desolate, and hundreds of thou­sands of lives were lost, and all because of the Ambition of one self-seeking man. It is like ere long to be a bloody Time in Europe, and it may be in America too. Did not some in the world seek their own wealth more than the wealth of others, it would not be so.

This poor Province is at this day reduced to great straits. The want of mony has brought a deadness on Trade, and incommod [...]d publick Interests. And is not this Evil owing to a pri­vate self-seeking spirit: Are there not those a­mong us, who if they can themselves grow rich by sending all the money in the Country away, that's all that they take care for. If former Ge­neral Assemblies, out of a due regard to the Wealth of their People, did well in making a Law to prevent that which would prove inju­rious [Page 27] to the Province in general, they who ou [...] of respect to their particular interests and gain, have by transgressing that Law hurt the whole Country, have not done well. Many other things might be mentioned which shew the evil of a self-seeking spirit. It is sadly true, that there is too much of self in good men; but the reign­ing power of this evil is inconsistent with real Christianity. A man cannot be a Disciple of Christ except he deny himself. Mat. 16.24. It is said of Believers, that none of them liveth to himself. Rom 14.7. They then who seek no­thing but themselves, are like to lose themselves and Souls for ever. What is the Epitaph on a Self seeker▪ One says well, that it should be written over his Grave, Here lies a man that sought himself whilst he lived, and lost himself when he dyed.

Inf. 2. This does instruct and direct those that have liberty of chusing their own Rulers, what m [...]n­ner of p [...]rsons should be the objects of their Ele [...]tion. If you may chuse men of publick Spirits, that will seek the welfare of their people never chuse others. And therefore you should chuse such as are qualified with the gra [...]es necessary in or­der to the being of such a spirit; Men that have the grace of Courage in them. God in his Holy Word has given us direction in [...] matter. Exod. 18.21. Thou shalt provide out of all the people able me [...] such as fear God, men of truth, [Page 28] hating Coveteousness, to be Rulers. When 'tis said they must fear God, therein is implied that they must be men of Courage, that will not fear men; for if they fear them more than God, they'l wrong the publick interest to please those men whom they are afraid of. And he that is Chosen a Ruler should be an Hater of Coveteousness; For if he is a cove­tous self-seeking man, a great bribe will tempt him to sell the Publick out of respect to his private interest.

The liberty which you have this day to Choose who shall be the Governours Assist­ants, is a great and singular priviledge. No other Plantation has the like. Now to use it well is the most probable way to have it continued. There are those that envy our happiness in this respect. The wicked men that sollicited to have our former Charter taken from us, are endeavouring that our Present Charter should be taken from us also. We may by two things provoke the Lord to suf­fer them to prevail; one is by unthankfulness for so great a mercy. By despising it, as if so great priviledges as those our present Charter confirms to us were of no value. If the Lord should be provoked to take them from us, they will be thought valuable by those that have ve­ry sinfully slighted and cast contempt on them. An Eminent man (since gone to a better world) wrote me, that if the people in New-England [Page 29] were not thankful for the priviledges of their present Charter, all their Friends in En­gland would think them unworthy of more, and be discouraged from being concerned in their behalf. The other evil which will endanger the loss of them is the not using our priviledges well. If when a people may Choose good men that w [...]ll seek their Welfare to be their Rulers, they will have others rather, it is just with God to punish them accordingly. Historians have observed concerning the Romans, that they brought ruin upon themselves by making a bad choice of Rulers, when they had liberty to E­lect whom they would.

Inf. 3. If Rulers in the Civil State ought to seek the Welfare of their People, than surely they that are appointed Rulers in the Church of God ought to do so. And the truth is, they have the greatest advantages to promote the best good, i. e. the Spiritual and Eternal Welfare of their People. For which reason it is that the Calling of the Ministry is of all Callings the most de­sirable. Nor is it beneath the best or greatest men on Earth to be so imployed. Ecclesiastes begins with the Words of the Preacher the Son of David, King of Ierusalem. He did not think it a dispara [...]ement to his Royal dignity to be a Preacher of the Word of God. Isaiah was of the blood Royal, and (as the Jews tells us) a near kinsman of that King who caused him to be Sawn asunder, but he did not think it be­neath [Page 30] him to Preach the Gospel. Ioseph of Arimathea was an honourable Counsellor of State, nevertheless he is thought to be the first that ever Preached the Gospel in England then known by the name of Britain▪ Ambrose was the Son of a Pr [...]fect, and himself adorned with the dignity of a Consul, but he thought he might do more good in promot [...]g the welfare of mens Souls than of their outward Estate, and accordingly became an Eminent Preacher and Writer. Chrys [...]stom a famous Preacher in Anti­och was a noble man. Since the Reformation, George who was Prince of Anhalt, because he was desirous to do good to the Souls of his People, Preached the word of God to them. Iohn a Lasco was a noble Polander, and the Pastor of the first Dutch Church in London. I remember an Eminent Divine says, The God of Heaven had but one Son, and he made him a Mi­nister. How can any man do a greater Good than by promoting the Eternal welfare of men▪ Is not the Soul better than the Body? Are not the Everlasting concerns thereof, of infinite greater weight, than the things which are only T [...]mporal? That which men ought to aim at in so Sacred a Work, is the Eternal good of Souls; and not to take up the Ministry (as many do) only as a trade to live by, which is a very Scandalous thing. They whom God has called to that Office are concerned, to en­deavour to Season the Souls of men with sound [Page 31] Doctrine. They are the Salt of the Earth, Matth 5 13. Were it no [...] for that Salt the world would putrify. They may be instru­mental of great good to the Souls of men, by b [...]ing Vigilant against the designs of Satan, who seeketh to sow Tares in the Lords field among the Wheat, which if they be not Watchful will soon over-run and ruin all▪ They may be in­strumental of much good by discovering Sedu­cers. The Angel in the Church in Ephesus did a great Service for Christ & for the Church, in dis­covering the false Apostates that were crept in a­mongst them, Rev. 2.2. False Teachers are as dan­gerous to the Souls of men, as Wolves are to a Flock of Sheep. They will come in Sheeps cloth­ing: They'le pretend Love to Truth, and a desire of the Salvation of Souls, and it may be a Zeal to propagate the Christian Faith▪ then their de­sign is to propagate the Romish Faith, or Pe­lagian and Arminian, errors whereby the Souls of those that are poysoned therewith will be en­dangered. The Shepherds of the Flocks by preventing such mischief may do much good▪ And above all by being Instrumental in the Conversion of Souls. To Save a body from death is a good work; but to Save a Soul is a greater good than to Save thousands of Bodies Now he that Converts [...] Soul Saves [...] Soul, Ia [...]. 5.20▪ He that converteth a Sinner from the Error of his way shall save a Soul from death. Thus then are th [...] whose office oblig­eth [Page 32] them to it, concerned to seek the welfare esp [...]cially the Spiritual and E [...]ernal welfare of their People. In doing which they promote their own welfare. They will (as the Apostle said to Timothy) save themselves in endeavour­ing to save those that hear them Nor are there any men under Heaven, under such an awfu [...]l charge as they that have the charge of Immor­tal Souls committed to the [...]. How dreadful are the words of God to the Sons of Aaron, Lev. 8.35. Keep my charge that ye dy not. And what was spoken to Ezekiel is no less awful. God said to him, I have set thee a watchman un­to the house of Israel, thou shalt give them warn­ing from me. If thou dost not, the wicked man shall dy in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand: If thou warn him thou hast delivered thy Soul Ezek. 33.7, 8, 9. This reason one of the Ancients alleadgeth for his freedom in reproving the sins of men, Timeo damnum ve­strum, timeo damnatione [...] meam si tacuero ▪ No­thing can be thought of more fearful than to have the blood of Souls to answer for. But they that have to the utmost of their power sought the eternal weal of the Souls committed to their care, shall have a greater Crown of Glory than other▪ shall at the last day. The reward of a Prophet will be greater than the reward of another righteous man. Mat. 10.42. And they that have turned many to righteous­ness, shall shine as the Stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12.3▪

[Page 33] VSE. II. I conclude briefly with a double word of EXHORTATION.

Exhor. 1. To Lay it to heart as we ought to do, when God takes away Rulers, who have sought the Good of their People. When Samuel was dead all Israel Lamented him. When Moses was dead the Children of Israel wept for him. And has not the Lord taken away a Moses from New-England, since the last Election day? One that was wonderfully Saved out of the Water as Moses was. A man of great Learning, as Moses was Learned in all the Wis­dom of Egypt. He sought the good of this People when he was concerned in an Agency for them in England I have heard some there speak Honourably of him on that account, they observed that his heart was set to obtain good for his People. The reason why he obtained no more was not his fault, it was not because he would not, but because he could not do it. Since that, amongst other Eviden­ces of his seeking the welfare of his People, this is one, he has Loved our Nation, and has built us a Colledge I wish New England may see such another Deputy Governour. It is a Solemn Providence that God has beheaded this Colony twice in less than half a yeare time. And our being left so long in a bleeding un­settled State adds to the Calamity.

[Page 34]But what shall I say concerning the dismal Tidings which is Arrived to us within these few dayes! Know you not that a Prince and a great Man is fallen in England, whose fall has made not only Three Kingdoms, but all Europe to Shake! A Prince that manifested such a Princely and Publick Spirit as the like has seldom been known. A Prince that when a Neighbouring Monarch offered his Assistance to make him a King over the United Provinces, He generously refused it. A Prince that decla­red he would appear in the Defence of his Country as long as there was any part of it re­maining, and when all was gone, would himself dy in the last Dyke in Holland. A Prince that sent word to a man of great Interest in Amster­dam, that he desired his friendship so long and no longer than as he did seek the welfare of his people.

And when God m [...]de him our King, he was the great Instrument of delivering our Nation from Popery and Slavery. A King that has con­sented to such Acts of Parliament for the benefit of the Subject as never King in England before him did. A King that restored Civil Liberties his Subjects, and Religious Liberties to many of them who had been persecuted & oppossed. And when the Crown of Scotland was offered to him, he declared, that if it were expected that he should be a Persecutor of any for their Re [...]i­gion, He would not accept of a Crown on [Page 35] those terms A King that from the Throne has proclaimed his abhorrence of those immo­ralities which the late Reigns had debauched the Nations with. A King that often exposed his Royal Person to the dangers of Death in Fight­ing the Battels of the Lord against his and his peoples Enemies. And now behold a breach is made upon us like that of the Sea, not possible to be withstood were it not that with God all things are possible. But who can say what a deluge of calamities will come in at this breach. The Anger of God is dreadful in it. That such a Royal Life, on whose continuance there were such vast dependences, should be taken a­way at such a Time, is a sign of the displeasure of Heaven not only against our Nation, but a­gainst all the Protestant Churches, wh [...]s [...] Head and Chief Defender on Earth is now taken from them. The Anger of God seems to smoke a­gainst the prayers of his people I believe there was not a man living on the earth that had so many prayers going for him, by all good men; not only his own Subjects, but i [...] may be more than a million of other Protestants prayed for him continually. The Churches in Helvetia, were wont in a particular manner to pray for the King and late Queen of England. But it se [...]ms the Sins of the Nations professing Refor­mation have out cried their Prayers And now the Crown is fallen from our head, wo unto us that we have sinned. This is for a Lamentation, and shall be for a Lamentation.

[Page 36]Exhor. 2. To those especially who sustain any Publick Relation. There are many, I sup­pose more than an hundred such in this As­sembly. Oh! Let every one seek the Wealth of their People. Be able to say with the Apostle, I have not sought my own Profit, but the profit of many. Consider the Excellency of a Publick Spirit, and how desirable a thing it is to do good. It is a God-like Spirit. For God is the universal good: He does good to all Psal 145.9. Therefore the more good any man does in the World, the more does he resemble the blessed God. It is a Christ-like Spirit. For Christ is the light of the World. All Nations fare the better for him. All the Angels in Heaven, and all the m [...]n on earth have not done such Service for God and men, as Christ has. Let us shew our sel [...]es Christians by en­deavouring to be (in our measure) like our Lord and Master.

I [...] i [...] be said, but wherein may we promote the welfare of our People? The Answer, is, we may promote their welfare by endeavouring that th [...]se Evils may b [...] Reformed which other­wise will pull down th [...] Judgments of H [...]aven on our Land Have not the Heavens of late been weeping over our heads, and threatning us wi [...]h a Terrible Famin [...]? We have cause to thi [...]k [...]hat one reason of it, is, because Excess in Drinking is become the Crying Sin of [Page 37] Multitudes in New-England. There is among the Helvetians (especially in Zurick) a Court which bears the name of the Court of Reformati­on, which effectually cures Drunkards I wish there were such a Court in New England.

Again, we may promote the Welfare of our People by tak [...]ng care that Pure Religion be transmitted to Posterity; by endeavouring that those who shall come after us, may walk in the Faith of the Gospel, according to the Order of the Gospel [...] Let us remember the last words which were spoken in this Pulpit, by that Eminent man of God Mr Norton: And remember the Sermons which were Preached on Election-Days, by our Blessed Mitchell, and Oakes. Which D [...]scourses are Printed, and will witness for ever against those that shall recede from the Truths therein d [...]clared from the Word of the Lord.

And one thing let me in the Name of the Lord, Commend to the General Assembly now Convened. It is that you would cause to be Re-pub [...]ished, and to be Recommended to Posteri­ty, the Platform of Church Discipline, together with the R [...]sult of the other Synods in this Colony, that so the Generation coming on, may not thro' ignorance degenerate or deviate from those holy ways wherein their Fathers walked. It was a pious design in those R [...]ubenites who first came into the Land [...] Canaan, when they built an Altar of Witness, that so their Children in Fu­ture Generations might no [...] cease fearing the [Page 38] Lord Who knows but what is now in the Name of the Lord proposed to you, may be a means to cause your Children after you to fear & serve the Lord, in the way which himself has Com­manded. Now you have an opportunity for it, and it may be now is your only time to do this Service for the Welfare of the Present and Suc­ceeding Generations.

To those whom the Providence of God shall this Day Establish as Rulers, Let me say, yet not I but the Lord; Consider this people is the Lords people. Therefore bear with their man­ners & infirmities, for the Lords sake, and Seek their wealth with all your might. I have often thought on what I heard a Worthy man (and a great Friend of New England) speak to the President of the Kings most Honourable Privy-Council. ‘I (said he) know the people of New-England very well; I was once there, I know they are a weak peo­ple and full of humors. Nevertheless they are a people that belong to God: And therefore let me pray your Lordship to be kind to them, & the God of Heaven will reward you for it’ So let me say to Counsellors, to Ministers, to Representatives, & to others also, do all that you can to promote the Wel­fare of the dear people in New England, because many of them are dear to God, who has purchased them with his own blood: Then Christ will take what you do to them as done to himself. All the men in the world will believe this to be true, in that day which is at hand, when we shall all see Jesus Christ the Son of God sitting on the Throne of his Glory, and hear him pronounce those words, with which I conclude. Mat 25 40. Verily inasmuch as you have done it to these my Brethren, you have done it unto me.

THE Righteous MAN A …
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THE Righteous MAN A Blessing: OR, Seasonable Truths Encouraging unto FAITH and PRAYER In this Day of Doubtful Expectation.

Delivered in Two SERMONS.

By Increase Mather

Boston: Printed for Nicholas Boone. 1702.

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To the READER.

THese Sermons were Preached at the Lecture in Boston. Having been informed that many who live in the Country, as well as in this Town, have desired they might be published, and one who took in Short hand what I deli­vered, having shewed me his transcribed Co­py, I have perused it, and consented to its be­ing sent to the Press. And I have the rather done so, because these are the last Lecture Ser­mons Preached, or intended to be Preach­ed by me. The other work incumbent on me, and the advances of Age which have now o­vertaken me, and the ill treatment which I have had from those from whom I had reason to have expected better, have discourage [...] me from being any more concerned on such Occa­sions.

[Page 41]

THE Righteous MAN a Blessing, &c.

Genesis XVIII.26.

And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty Righteous within the City, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

IN this Chapter we have an account of three men that came to Abraham when he dwelt in the Plains of Mamre; which men were indeed Angels, only called men, be­cause they did appear in Humane Shape; Abraham supposing them to be Travellers, cour­teously invited them to refresh themselves with him; and so did as the Apostle speak [...], Entertain Angels at unawares. He applied himself to one above the rest; the reason of his doing so is not mentioned, but probably he observed that the other Angels did show peculiar respect to that Person. And afterward he pe [...]ceived that He was not a Created Angel, but Christ the Eter­nal Son of God; for he calls him, the Iudge of all the Earth, which Title is peculiar to the Son [Page 42] of God. And in this Verse, and in several other places in this Chapter, He is called Iehovah, which is a name that may not be given to any Angel or Creature, but to Him alone who is the only true God. Two of the Angels went to the City of Sodom, so that Abraham was left with the Lord alone, who having intimated to him his purpose to destroy Sodom, because of the exceeding wickedness of that place, the Holy man with great humility and importunity beg­ged of God, that he would spare them And that prayer he made no less than six times over: The argument he makes use of, is taken from the consideration of the merciful and equitable proceedings of God towards men.

He mentions it as a thing most undoubtedly true, That the Iudge of all the Earth would do right; whereas if he should inflict equal pu­nishment on those that have been unequal Trans­gressors, that would not seem to be right. He was concerned lest the Name of God should suffer, and therefore prays that God would for the sake of the Righteous spare the wicked, or however spare the Righteous themselves. This verse is the Lords gracious Answer to Abrahams first request. It may be (says he) there are fi [...]ty righteous men in the City, and wilt not thou spare them for their sakes. The Lord in the words before us declared that if he found so many in that wicked place, he would spare the whole City for the sake of such a small number [Page 43] of Righteous Ones. The Doctrine which the words afford unto us, is,

That Wicked men while in this world fare the bet­ter for the sake of Righteous men.

We shall first premise some Conclusions for the clearing and right understanding of the truth now before us. And then proceed to mention some things which are evidences of it.

Conclusion 1. That God is sometimes so provo­ked by the sins of the wicked, that he will not spare them for the sake of the Righteous. So that this must not be understood as an universal standing Rule. The Lords condescending thus far to A­braham at this time, was not to intimate that if there be any Righteous men in a place, that then that place shall not fall under destroying Judgments. In the days of Elijah there were seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Yet Drought, and Famine, and Sword, (destroying judgments) came on the Land, notwithstanding there were some thousands of Righteous men therein. A fatal overthrow came on the Land of the Chaldeans by the Sword of Persia, when all the good men in the world were in that Land. Sometimes God is so highly provoked at the Sins of wicked men, at that although righteous men set themselves to deprecate impending Judgments, he becomes in­exorable, [Page 44] no intreaties will prevail with him to stay his hand. When there was a sore drought upon the Land, the Prophet Ieremiah did ear­nestly pray that the Judgment might be remov­ed. God gave him a flat denial, and told him, that instead of removing that Judgment, he would bring others that should be greater; and added moreover, though Moses and Samuel stood before him yet his mind could not be toward that people, Ier. 15 1. Moses & Samuel are instanced in, because God for their sakes had more than once spared a sinful people, but then he would not do it. There is a Scripture in Ezekiel, like that in Ieremiah, viz. that, Ezek. 14, 14. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own Souls by their righteousness. And many times it has been so, that destroying Judgments have come on Cities, Provinces, Nations, in which there have been not fifty, but many hundreds, it may be thou­sands of righteous men; yea many holy Chur­ches of the Lord Jesus Christ. When once a sinful people have filled up the measure of their iniquity, there is no preventing the judgment de­termined against them. It is said, in Dan. 8.23, 24. When the Transgressors are come to the full, a King of fierce countenance shall arise and destroy wonderfully. When the transgressors a­mong the Jews were come to the full, Antiochus whom Historians describe to be one of a fierce countenance, was by the dreadful Providence of [Page 45] God set over them as their King, who proved a bloody Persecutor and Destroyer of that people, notwithstanding their being the holy People. So then that is the first Conclusion.

Conclusion 2. Although when destroying Iudg­ments come upon a People, the Divine Providence does sometimes make a difference between the Righ­teous and the Wicked, nevertheless it is not always so. Sometimes God in his Providence does ve­ry signally discriminate between those he has a favour for, and others. When the Egyptians were visited with ten plagues, the Children of Israel were preserved. When Sodom was over­thrown, righteous Lot escaped. Barak had his life given to him for a prey, when others were swept away with a b [...]som of destruction

It was said to the Church in Philadelphia, Be­cause thou hast kept the word of my patience, I al­so will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world. Rev 3 10. When the Babylonians laid Ierusalem waste, some who were Mourners in Zion, experienced signal tem­poral Salvations. And so it was with the Chri­stian Iews at that time when utter desolation came on Ierusalem by the Roman Sword. God did by a miraculous Providence distin­guish them from others, according to Ma­lachi's Prophesy. Then shall ye return and dis­cern between the righteous and the wicked, be­tween him that serveth God, and him that ser­veth [Page 46] him not. Mal. 3.18. Thus it came to pass. The Lord Jesus Christ had intimated to his Disciples, that when they should see Ierusa­lem compassed about with armies, they should know that the destruction of it is near, and that therefore they should go out of the City to some other place for safety. When the Romans came to take the City, they did by a strange Providence withdraw their Seige. The Christians remembring the words of Christ went out of the City to Pella, a Town beyond the River Iordan, when they were gone, the Roman Army came again and never broke up the Seige until they had destroy­ed and utterly ruined the City. Thus did the Lord make a difference between the righ­teous and the wicked; then also was another Prophesie fulfilled, viz. that, Ioel 2▪32. It shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. The Christian Iews that Called on the name of the Lord Iesus Christ were saved, when o­thers were destroyed. And to be sure, what­ever comes on the world, God will secure & save a number of Righteous ones: So that he will have a Church here on the Earth, whatsoever Confusions and Overturnings may come upon Nations and Kingdoms; there­fore in the seventh of the Revelations the first verse, we read of four Angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the winds that [Page 47] they should not blow on the earth. The mean­ing is, that a terrible Storm was a coming on the whole world, and such a stormy wind as should overset Kingdoms, and pluck up Na­tions by the roots, but says Christ in the 3d. verse, hurt not the Earth, neither the Sea, nor the trees till we have sealed the Servants of our God in their foreheads. A Seal is sometimes for notification, as well as for confirmation; like that of the Blood being sprinkled on the doors of the houses of the Children of Israel. Hereby is noted, how God does sometimes signally preserve his Righteous ones. When the world is turning up side down, they are as safe as things that have the Seal Royal on them, which may not be medled with. Won­derful it was that when the Roman Empire was overturned by barbarous Nations, many Professors of Christianity escap [...]d the general destruction Nevertheless, though the Lord does sometimes make a difference as to out­ward Ju [...]gm [...]nts, i [...] is not always so; there­fore it is said, Eccles 9.2. There is one Event unto the Righteous and to the Wicked; And God says, in Ez [...]k 21.3, 4. that he would Cut off the Righteous with the Wicked: For alas! s [...]metimes righteous men do partake too much in the sins of the wicked, by which God is provoked to bring destroying judg­ments on the Earth. And if they partake with them in their sins, it is not to be w [...]n­dred [Page 48] a [...] if they partake with them in the judg­ments that come for those sins. Come out of Babylon (says God) my people, partake not of her sins, lest you receive of her plagues. Rev. 18.4. And which is a sadder truth, righteous men may through temptation fall into such sins as shall bring temporal judgments on themselves and others too. Thus Gideon by introducing innovations in Religion, made a great Schism a­mong the Lords people, which ended in sore ca­lamities, Iudg. 7.27. The like is to be said of David when he numbred the people; and Ieho­saphat when he did too much comply with an ungodly Interest, 2 Chron. 19.2. Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore wrath from the Lord is on thee: And what was that wrath? why in the next Chapter you see how there was a great force from beyond Sea, viz. the Moabites, who dwelt on the other side of the dead Sea, and other Enemies coming to invade the Land, and this to punish Iehosaphat, a good man for his sinful compliances; so then righteous men may suffer with the wicked. And in Epidemical Judg­ments 'tis commonly so, when a War breaks forth, Righteous men are cut off as well as o­thers; the Sword devours one as well as ano­ther: Or if mortal and contagious diseases hap­pen, Good men as well as others dy by this Judgment; when seventy thousand men were swept away by the Plague in Davids time, no [Page 49] doubt but that there were many righteous men among them. When the Plague was in Germany, Eminent Ministers, and Great Reformers dyed thereby as well as others. So when there is a ge­neral Persecution, both the righteous as well as the wicked, both sincere Professors of Religion and Hypocrites suffer in that common calamity.

Conclusion 3. In spiritual respects there is a great difference in those temporal judgments, which the wicked and the righteous are subject to in this world For when such judgments fall on the wicked, they are Paenal, they are part of the Curse; some part of the wages due for their sins, some sparks of Hell fire lighting on them be­fore they come there. Whereas it is otherwise wi [...]h the Righ [...]eous; the afflictions that befal them are not paenal properly, but Castigations, and fatherly ones too; the Lord chasteneth whom h [...] loves as a father doth his son in whom he delights Prov 3.12. And therefore God al­ways designs their good in whatever afflictions do befal them, many times their temporal good. I may b [...] great afflictions befal them, to pre­vent far greater. So it was with the good figs the Prophet speaks of. They were sent in [...] the Land of the Chaldeans for their good. Ier. 24 5 Had they tarried in their own land, as they w [...]uld have been glad to have done, when the Babylonian Army invaded the Land, it would have gone worse with them. So that God sent [Page 50] them into the land of Chaldea for their temporal good, to save them from perishing by the Sword. However God designs the spiritual good, and the eternal advantage of righteous ones, when outward judgments do befal them R [...]m. 8.39 All things shall work together for their good. All things, all afflictions, that is, for of them, especially the Apostle speaks, when he says All things. Nay if killing judgments come on them, they shall be for their spiritual & eternal good; they shall hasten them to heaven, where they shall never sin and displease God any more. Sometimes Death is the greatest mercy that can happen to a righteous man. The Righteous are taken away from the Evil to come. Many a righteous man had he lived a while longer, his heart would have been broke to have seen the miseries that would have come upon him, or on his Relati­ons. There [...]ore God in singular mercy takes them out of the world, as he did Iosiah, that so his eyes might not see the evil that was coming. We cannot say so of wicked me [...] for when Death comes on them, H [...]ll follows with it. They shall go out of one fire, and another fire shall devour them Ezek 15 7. They shall go ou [...] of the fire of temporal judgments, into that fire which never shall be quenched So it was wi [...]h the people of Sodom, when Lightning killed their Bodies. E [...]ernal Fire did take hold on their Souls; and the [...]fore the Apostle Iude says of them, that they are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. In [Page 51] this respect God always puts a difference be­tween every righteous man, and every wicked man There is no righteous man that shall be punished [...] everlasting destruction. Nay, God s [...]ds tem [...]oral judgments on them to pre­v [...]nt that; they are chastened of the Lord, that they may not be condemned with the wicked world; whereas [...]ere is no wicked man that shall escape everlasting destruction. Isa 3 10, 11. Say ye to the Righteous it shall he well with him, wo unto the wicked it shall be ill with him. So must the Ministers of God say, it shall go well for ever with the Righteous, but wo will be for ever to the wicked. These things then being premised for clearing the truth, we proceed to mention the Evidences of it: How does it appear that wicked men while in this world fare the better for the sake of Righteous men? For Answer,

1. Sometimes they are spared as to temporal Ruin for the sake of Righteous men, as the City of Zoar, a whole City, (though but a lit­tle one) was spared for the sake of Lot. Gen. 19.22 So when Paul was Sailing to Rome, all the Ships Company had their lives saved for his sake: The Angel said to him, God has given thee all them that Sail with thee. Acts 27.24▪ There were two hundred threescore and six [...]een souls, whose lives were all spared for the sake of a righ­teous Paul, that was among them. Thus in the Parable, the tares were spared for the sake of the wheat that was mixed with them. Mat. [Page 52] 13 29 the Servants would have been plucking up the tares, no says the Lord, let them alone, lest you pluck up the wheat also. The truth is, that the world stands for the sake of a few righ­teous men in it. And so it has been in every Generation. Prov. 10.25 The Righteous is an everlasting foundation: They as a foundation uphold the world, and have done so all along from the beginning of the world, and will do so to the end of it 'Tis for their sakes any are saved, Mat. 24.22. No flesh should be saved if it were not for the Elects sake If all the Righte­ous men in the world were taken [...]ut of it, God would do to this Earth as he did to Sodom when Lot was taken out of it. If all the Righteous men were taken out of the Earth, God would set the whole World on fire before to morrow. Then 'tis for their sakes that the world stands; when all the Elect are called and snatched out of the world (as it will be at the last and great day) then devouring fire shall come and de­stroy all the wicked. Then that Scripture will be fulfilled in the utmost extent of it, Ma [...] 4 1. For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an O [...]en, and all the wicked shall be stubble, they shall be burnt up root and branch.

2. Positive Blessings are bestowed on wicked men for the sake of righteous men They are not only saved from great evils and judgments, but many mercies and blessings are bestowed on them: Ungodly Children do many [...]im [...]s [...]are [Page 53] the better for the sake of their Godly Parents; as it was with Ishmael, when his Father Abra­ham prayed for him, God said concerning Ish­mael, I have heard thee, behold I will bless him, and make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; I will make him a Nation because he is thy Seed. Gen. 21.13: Great temporal Blessings came on him for his Fathers sake. The Children of Ionathan fared the better, because of the piety of their Father: Enqui­ry was made by David, Is there none of the seed of Ionathan, that I may show kindness unto? And when Mephibosheth appeared, Da­vid said to him, I will surely shew thee kind­ness for thy Father Ionathans sake. So does God shew kindness to many an Ungodly Child for their fathers sake. And sometimes a whole Family fare the better for the sake of one Godly person that is in it, tho' it may be that person is only a Servant in the Fa­mily; as when Iacob was a Servant in his Uncle Labans Family. Gen 30 27. Says La­ban, I have Learned by experience that God has blessed me for thy sake. So when I [...]seph was a Servant in Potiphars Family, Gen. 39 5. God blessed the Egyptians House for Iosephs sake, the Blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the House and in the Field And af­terwards a whole Nation, nay m [...]re than one Nation did fare the better for Iosephs [...]. When there was a terrible famine that lasted for [Page 54] seven years together, it was by means of Io­seph that a whole Nation was preserved from perishing by that judgment, as the Egyptians confessed to him, in Gen. 47.25 Thou hast sa­ved our lives say they. And indeed the greatest blessing the world does enjoy, 'tis for the sake of a few righteous men in it; namely the Gos­pel, that is the greatest blessing that is bestowed on the World, now this is for the sake of the Righteous. There be many that despise the Gospel, yea the greatest part of the world does so, only there are a few Righteous men that the Word of God is dearer to them than any thing in the world, and for their sakes the Gospel is continued, and others have the benefi [...] of it.

3. It is evident in that, God has Promised righ­teous men that they shall be Blessings. Gen. 12 2. I will bless thee and make thee a blessing. This promise belongs to righteous ones, to such as are Abrahams Children. God does not only bl [...]ss them, but make them to be blessings to others. And there are especially three wayes in respect whereof they are blessings

1. By their Prayers. They obtain good for o [...]hers thereby, Iob 22.30 The innocent shall deliver the Island by the pureness of his hand. The righteous by li [...]ting up pure hands in Prayer unto God, deliver the place where they live from destroying Judgm [...]nts. It was said to Abim [...]leck concerning Abraham, in Gen 20.7. He is a Pro­phet he shall Pray for thee and thou shalt live. [Page 55] Verily [...]h [...]re is many a man owes his life to the Prayers of righteous ones that have begged it at the hands of God for them. How far did Abra­ham prevail? he almost obtained the life of five wicked Cities by his Prayer to God for them, and if he could have got ten Righteous men more to have joyned with him, he had Saved them all alive. Yea, Lot was delivered out of respect to Abrahams Prayer. Although in this Chapter nothing is said of Ab [...]ahams Praying particularly for that his kinsman, yet in ano [...]her place, viz. in Gen 19 29. It is said, God remembred Abra­ham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow. The Lord remembred how Abraham had been Praying for his kinsman. It was then his Uncles Prayers that were one special cause of his being so wonderfully saved alive, when all round about him perished in the fire. So likewise Zoar was spared out of respect unto the Prayers of Lot, Gen. 19 21. See (says the Lord) I have ac­cepted thee concerning this thing a [...]so, I will not overthrow this City for which thou hast spok [...] ▪ Zoar was not over [...]hrown with the E [...]rthquake as the other Cities were, because of Lots Praying and Crying to God to spare it. Sometimes the Prayers of one [...]mi [...]ent righteous man, will do very much with God, Iam. 5 16. The eff [...]ctual fervent Prayer of a righteous man availeth much. We see it in Moses, when there was a very wicked G [...]neration of men, and the Lord was just ready to kill them all at one blow, Moses held his hand [Page 56] by Prayer; therefore did God say unto him, Exod. 32.10 Let me alone that I may consume them Hence the Psalmist speaks, as in Psal. 106 23 God would have destroyed them, if his servant Moses had not stood in the Breach and turn­ed away his wrath He did like a valiant Souldier, who when the En [...]my has made a breach in the Wall comes and stands in it, to prevent further destruction, and how but by intercedeing in Prayer to God for them. The like did Elijah, when a Drought was on the Land for three years to­gether, and the whole Country like to perish, Elijah Prayed and Prayed earnestly, and the Heavens gave Showers. So Hezekiah, when an Epidemical disease was on the People, by Pray­er he prevailed with God to restore health unto his people, 2 Chron 30.20 The Lord hearkened to Hezekiah and healed the People.

2 Righteous men are B [...]essings by the Counsel that they give to others As D [...]vid said to one that gave him happy counsel, Blessed be the Lord th [...] has sent thee to me, and blessed be thy advice. So there are those that will bless God for ever because of the wholsome advice which some Righteous ones have administred unto them; The advice which righteous men give others doe sometimes cause them to reform their evil wayes, and then they escape the judgments tha [...], otherwise would overtake them Sometimes God bless [...]s their Counsel to the [...]ff [...]ctual Con­version of those that are instructed by them, and then they are saved not only from temporal [Page 57] but from eternal distruction, Prov. 11.30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth Souls is wise. By their Counsel some­times they win Souls, and so bring them to life. Their words preserve life, as the fruit that grew on the Tree of life in Paradise should have done.

3. They are Blessings by their Example, which they set before the World. Phil. 2.15. That ye may be B [...]ameless and harmless the Sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a Crooked and Per­verse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. The S [...]ars in the Firmament, are lights to the w [...]rld and common bl [...]ssings to the world So righteous men are the lights of the world, others may see by the light of their Ex­ample how they ought to [...] And [...] Conversation is sometimes Bless [...]d for [...] Con­version of others. Many of [...] God when Providence has cast them [...] a Godly Family, the holy Ex [...]mple of the [...] of th [...]t Family has been a means of their Conversion▪ So was it in the Primitive times, many Pagans were brought to [...]mbrace Christianity by be­holding the grace that did shine in the Christians of those days; If their N [...]ighbours that had done them the greatest wrong, were sick, or in [...]ny misery, they would visit them, pray for them, & relieve them instead of being revenged on them. This made many Pagans become Christians. And their Exemplary Patience in suffering Persecution [Page 58] amazed their Enemies, so that many of them of Pers [...]cutors became Godly Christians. Thus then [...]ighteous m [...]n are Blessings: Others fare the be [...]ter for them We see the D [...]ctrine cleared in the particulars that have been mentioned.

We proceed to make some Improvement of it.

1. Hence then we must conclude that Righteous men are exceeding dear to God The Psalmist said in Psal. 146 8· The Lord loves the Righteous. It must needs be so, if he spares other for their sakes. As when a Prince does spare those that are risen up in rebellion against him, at the in­tercession of one that is near to his Person, all men conclude such a one is a great favourite of that Prince. It is related concerning the Empe­ror Augustus, that when the Alexandrians had off [...]nded [...]im and he had ob [...]ained an absolute conquest over them, every body thought that now he would destroy the City, but (said he) there is such a one in the City, a Philosopher whom I have a singular Love for, and for his s [...]ke I will spare you all. Well then, since God spares exceeding wicked men from temporal d [...]struction out of regard to the Righ [...]eous, they be dear to him. And as God spares others for their sakes, so sometimes he destroys others on their account, that is such as wrong and abuse them. Isa 43.4. I will give men for thee, and people for thy life, because I have [Page 59] loved thee, and thou hast been precious and honou­rable in my sight. God destroyed th [...] Kingdom of Egypt for his people Israels sak [...], and when the Ethiopians came against them with an Army of no less than a million of men, the Lord smote them for his Peoples sake. When Sena­cherib came against Ierusalem with a mighty Army, God sent an Angel that destroyed an hundred fourscore and five th [...]usand of them in one night, and this for his peoples sake. So the Babylonian Empire was laid waste because of the wrong that was done by th [...]m to Righteous ones. Isa. 43.14 I have sent to Babylon (says the Lord) and [...] for your sakes bring down their N [...]bles, and the Cha [...]deans whose cry is in their Ships God sent [...]he M [...]des and Persians against them The Great Ones who had Palaces in Babylon, were brought down, and the comm [...]n people among the Chaldeans got into S [...]ip [...] [...]or their safety, where they made a l [...]mentabl [...] cry. This d [...]struction did the Lord bring up [...]n them for the s [...]k [...] of his people. Then they are ve­ry dear [...]o God.

2. W [...] [...] here see who a [...]e the most exc [...]ll [...]nt and d [...]si [...]ab [...]e pers [...]ns in the wor [...]d Are they the Rich [...]st m [...]n? N [...], [...] R [...]ghteous. Are they the m [...]st Learned? N [...], but the most G [...]d­ly m [...]n P [...]ov 12 26. The Righteous is m [...]e Ex­cellent than his Neighb [...]ur As for un [...]ig [...]teous m [...]n they pull down J [...]dgmen [...]s. The w [...]a [...]h of God is revealed from heaven against all ungod [...]iness [Page 60] and unrigh [...]eousness of men. Rom. 1.18 But it is good bei [...]g where there be many Righteous: It is good living in a Family where the Master of that Family is a Righteous man: When Parents have Children to disp [...]se of, let them be sure to dispose of them into Godly Families. Not into a Family in which there is no Prayer, because the Lord has threa [...]ed to poor [...]ut his fury on the Families that call not on his N [...]me, Ier. 10.25 But if you put your Children into Godly Families, they will be lik [...] to fare the better for it in Body, and in Soul too.

3 Hence they that do seek the hurt of Righteous men, and would gladly [...]x [...]irpate them [...] of the wor [...]d, sin g [...]ievo [...]st against the Lord and against themselves too They that would [...] the world of them, sin against God; [...]or G [...]d t [...]k [...]s what is done against th [...]m as done ag [...]inst him­self. Zech 2 8 He that toucheth y [...]u toucheth the apple of his eye ▪ Touch th [...]m ( [...]) you had as good touch [...]he Apple of m [...] Eye. So tender is the Lo [...]d of them: Such si [...] against th [...]ms [...]lves too. Wh [...]n Saul was P [...]rsecu [...]ing th [...] C [...]u [...]ch of God, Ch [...]ist from heaven [...]nd to him, Why dost thou pe [...]s [...]cute m [...]? 'tis ha [...]d for thee to kick against the pricks Wh [...]n Wi [...]k [...]d men set th [...]ms [...]lv [...]s against th [...] R [...]ght [...]ous, they do but ki [...]k against the p [...]ick; [...] do but hurt and wound th [...]mselves Th [...]y d [...] j [...]st [...] a man that cu [...]s the bough on which [...] st [...]nds, when that falls he falls and is ruined The [Page 61] greatest Persecutor that is on the face of the earth at this day, has boasted that he has extir­pated all Hereticks out of his kingdom: (Papists call the Righteous by that name of Hereticks.) And if it be so, it may then be expected, that God will bring more direful plagues on that Kingdom, than ever came on the kingdom of Egypt Psal: 34 21. They that hate the Righteous shall be desolate. Persecutors that set themselves to destroy the righteous in the world, do but b [...]ing desolation on themselves in so doing.

4. Here is ground to hope both as to England and New-England. It is dreadfully true, that our Nation lyes under Prodigious guilt; the Sins of Sodom have been found there. Horrible D [...]baucheries have filled the Nation, by means of one man especially who made three Nations to sin. Yea, and the Nation in general is under the guilt of a greater sin, than ever Sodom was guilty of, namely, the sin of Disobedience to the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If such S [...]rmons had been Preached in Sodom as have been Preached in England, we may believe that th [...]y would have R [...]pented in dust & ashes, and have continued until this day. Were not Two thousand faithful Ministers of Christ Si­lenced in one black day? Since which time Gods holy vengeance has smitten our Nation with very terrible Judgments, with Plague and Fire, and Sword. How awful was that judg­ment when an hundred thousand Souls were [Page 62] swept away by the Pestilence, and that in one City, and in one year. And when the capital City was burnt and laid in Ruinous heap [...], how awful was that judgment from on high. Be­sides the Wars whereby the Treasure of the Na­tion has been wasted. Yet has there not been that National turning unto God which he h [...]s expected. There has not been a thorough Re­formation either of manners or of other evils. We may than fear that more terrible things are at the dore than ever yet we have known: Yet not utter Destruction. It was said of the Jewish Nation notwithstanding all the Sins they had been guilty of, Isa. 6 13. That the holy seed shall be the substance thereof. So may we hope concerning our sinful Nation, that the Holy Seed, that the righteous will be a means to preserve it from utter Desolation: for doubtless there be many such, and it may be more than in any one Nation in the World. To be sure there be more than Fifty, yea than Fifty thousand righte­ous men to be found in those Kingdoms. I re­member I once knew a very holy and Learned man, (it was Dr. Winter who was the Provost of the Colledge in Dublin when I belonged to that University Forty four years since) who in a meeting with his Church, that were assembled together to Pray, pleading for England, Scotland and Ireland, just as Abraham did here for Sodom, [...] he, if there be Fifty thousand righteous men [...], Scotland and Ireland, wilt not thou [Page 63] save the Nations, for the sake of Fifty thousand righteous men▪ And so went on till at last he came to ten thousand; upon this he made a pause as one surprised and amazed, and turned his Prayer into a Thanksgiving, in that his Pray­er was heard. Some inquiring of him afterwards the reason of it, he told them, that God had as­sured him that for the sake of ten thousand righ­teous men, He would not destroy those Nations. So as to New England, there are many righteous men yet among us: we may then hope that God will remember that word, Ier. 30 11. I will not make a full end of them. Although we have reason to fear seven time greater evils th [...]n we have hi [...]herto had experience of, neverthe­less, God will not as yet make a full end of us, but while so many righteous are to be found in the Land, he will spare us for their sakes; And therefore,

Lastly, Let us make sure that we be found a­mong the Righteous And then it will be well with us It may be signal temporal Preservations shall attend us, in those dismal Confusions which are hastening upon the World. It may be we shall be hid in the day of the Lords anger. There is a third wo Trumpet yet to Sound; and behold! the third wo comes quickly, and it will be the dire [...]u [...]est wo that ever came upon the earth since the world began. Well, but let our chief care be, that we may be found among the righ­teous, and it will be well with us▪ And if we [Page 64] would be found among the righteous, we must have a better righteousness than that of our own, namely, the Righteousness of Jesus Christ the Son of God. If then we be found Cloathed with the glorious righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, what ever comes on the world it shall go well with us for ever. Then shall our Souls be safe to Eternity. So let us walk in the fear of God, and remember that Scripture with which I con­clude, Eccl. 8.12. Surely I know that it shall go well with them that fear God, which fear before him.

The Morning STAR.

Revelations XXII.16.

The Bright and Morning Star.

THESE words were spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, who knowing that men, would be apt to question the truth of the Prophesies con [...]ain­ed in this Book, to put all out of doubt, declares that no man or Angel, but he himself was the Author of it; to intimate which is the scope of this verse, wherein Christ is de­scribed,

[Page 65]1. From his Name Iesus, implying his being the Saviour of men. I Iesus have sent my An­gel; therefore not the Angel was the Author of this Book. The Angel did only declare the M [...]ssage that Christ sent him with

2. He is described from his Divine Nature, implied in that expression of his being the Root of David; one that David received his Being from. As there is not a Branch without a Root, so there had never been such a man as David, if Christ as God had not given to him his being.

3. He is described from his Humane Nature, in that expression of his being the Offspring of Da­vid, which implies his being the promised Messi­ah. The Iews commonly called Christ by that name of the Son of David. God had promised David that Christ should descend from him: The M [...]ssiah was to be of his Off [...]pring, a Branch of his Family. It was once said to the Jews, since Christ is Davids Son, how does Da­vid whe [...] inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, call him his Lord: They were not able to an­swer that question, because they did not believe that the M [...]ssiah was God; but unto Christians it is very plain: As God he is Davids Lord, & so the Root of David, but as man he is Davids Son, and so the Offspring of David.

Lastly, Christ is described from the Glory of his Person, in the words now b [...]fore us, wh [...]ch may be cleared under the Doctrine, which is,

[Page 66] That the Lord Iesus Christ is fitly compared to a Star, and in special to the bright Morning Star.

We have the like comparison to this in other Scriptures. These words seem to allude to the 24th. of Numbers 17▪ where it is said, A Star shall rise out of Iacob, and shall smite the corners of Moab; which words altho' they were partly ful­filled in David, who smote the Corners, that is to say, the Princes of Moab, nevertheless they are chiefly to be understood concerning Christ, and the Spiritual Moab that has been and shall be smitten by him. Again, in Rev. 2.28. Christ says, to him that overcomes I will give the Morn­ing Star; when Christ gives himself with all his benefits to the Believer, than does he give him the Morning Star. For clearing the Doctrine, we shall, (1.) Inquire into the Similitude, & (2.) The Dissimilitude which is in this comparison.

1. Then, In what respect is the Lord Iesus Christ compared to a Star, and in special to the Morning Star? For Answer,

1. Stars are very glorious Creatures. Although there is a great difference among them as to their glory. Some Stars are of the first, others of the second, some of the sixth magnitude, as A­stronomers are wont to distinguish. And the A­postle says, 1 Cor. 15.41. That one Star differs from another in glory; nevertheless, they are all glorious Creatures; and they are a glory and an ornament to that Heaven where God has set [Page 67] them; therefore is it said, Job 26.13. He has garnished the Heavens; and how? namely with Stars that glitter there. How do the Heavens glitter in a clear Starry Night! Thus Christ is most glorious: When he appeared in Humane Shape to the Elders of Israel, Exod. 24 10. there seemed to be under his feet as it were a Saphire Stone, and the body of heaven in its clearness. A Saphire Stone is a glorious Gem full of beauti­ful specks resembling Stars. In like sort did Christs glory then appear. And there is no Star tho' of the greatest magnitude that is such an orna­ment unto the second Heaven, as Christ is, yea as the Humane Nature of Christ is to the Hea­ven of Heavens where he now does shine with inexpressible glory. Therefore 'tis said, That the Lamb (that is Christ) is the light and glory of the Heavenly Ierusalem. Rev. 21.23.

2. Stars are not subject unto such mutation as sublunary Bodies are. They are of perpetual du­ration, and therefore it is a phrase in Scripture, as the days of heaven, to intimate perpetual dura­tion. The Stars are by the Hebrews called by that name of Chochabim, by Antiphrasis, because they are lights that never shall be extinguished, they have been shining in the Heavens ever since the first Creation, and probably will con­tinue to be there when this Earth shall perish▪ But Christ is more immutable than any Star [...] heaven Ioh 12 34. The Iews said, we have [...] out of the Law that Christ abides for ever; [...] [Page 68] less their meaning was that they had read out of the 110 [...]h Psalm, that Christ is a Priest for e­ver: Unto the Son of God it has been said, Thy Throne is for ever and ever, thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail, Heb. 1.8, 12 Iesus Christ is the same yesterday and to day and for ever. So then he is fi [...]l [...] resembled to a Star, in regard of his immutable Being

3. Stars in general (and the Morning Star in special) are a common benefit to the World. All the Nations on the Earth are benefited by the influences thereof. This must we say concer­ning the Lord Jesus Christ, he is a Blessing to all the Nations of the World. It was said there­fore to Abraham, Gen 26.18 In thy seed (that is in Christ) shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed. All the E [...]ct of God, of whom there are some of all Nations do feel the saving influ­ence of this Star. But besides that, Christ has been a Blessing to all men whatever; all Man­kind has [...]ared the better for him; for it is by means of Jesus Christ that the world has been put under a Dispensation of Divine Patience: The tree of mankind has not been cut down, because Christ has interposed and preserved it. As it is said concerning the barren Fig-tree, by which the Jewish Church and Nation was intended, when there was a sentence pass'd to Cut it down, [...] Dresser of the Vineyard said, spare it ou [...] year [...], and if it does not bring forth fruit, then it [...] be [...]ut down. In like manner when the [Page 69] Law of God had sentenced mankind to be cut down, Christ stept in and said, spare that tree, till all the Elect be called, and then it shall be cut down. So that Christ is in that respect a Saviour of all men, but especially of them that do believe.

4 Stars and especially the Morning Star gives light unto the World. Jer. 31.35. God giveth the Sun for a light by day and the Stars for a light by night. Hence is that expression of Stars of light▪ Psal. 148.3. Praise the Lord ye Stars of light. The morning Star is in a singular manner one of those Stars of light. But this must we say con­cerning the Lord Jesus Christ: He gives light unto the world, Luk. 1.78▪ 79▪ Through the ten­der mercy of our God, the day spring from on high has visited us, to give light to them that sit in dark­ness Christ is called the Light of the world, Ioh. 8.12 There is light enough in him to enlighten all the world, and therefore he is said to be a Great light. As in Isa 9 Tis said▪ the dimness shall not be as in the Land of Z [...]bulun and Naph­tali, and in Galilee, the People that sat in darkness saw a great light, for unto us a Child is born, a Son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God. To open that Scrip­ture as we go along. The words are a Prophe­sie that the Messiah should live in Galilee: And so it came to pass; for although he was by a wonderful Providence born at Bethlehem, acc [...] ­ding as the Scripture had foretold: and altho [...] [Page 70] his Passion was at Ierusalem, and his Ascension was from Mount Olivet near Ierusalem, yet his Conversation was for the most part in Galilee. When Isaiah wrote those words, a sad calamity had newly befallen Zebulun and Napthali, which were in Galilee, the Assyrians had made them De [...]olate: Now the Prophet to comfort them, tells them of a thing that should happen in that part of the Land of Canaan, which would make amends for all their sorrows and miseries, name­ly that when the Messiah came, he would live in Galilee, and enlighten them by Preaching the Gospel unto them; and so it came to pass. For our Saviour during his private life dwelt in the City of Nazareth, a Town in Galilee; & when he Entred upon his Publick Ministry, he did Reside in Capernaum, which was the Metropolis of Galilee: And all his Disciples were Galileans; the blind Iews obj [...]cted that J [...]sus could not be the Christ, b [...]cause he came out of Galilee, where­as if they had understood the Sc [...]ipture, they would ra [...]h [...]r thence have concluded that he was the M [...]ssi [...]h, since the Prophet Isaiah had fore [...]old that he shou [...]d Preach in Galilee: He seldom c [...]me to Ierusalem only on the Publick Fest [...]als, but spent his time most in Galilee, Preaching the Gospel there: Thus did a great Light app [...]ar unto them. Spiri [...]ual Light is from Christ. The light of saving knowledge is from him The Scriptures have that light in them. [...] was said to Timothy, Thou hast known the Scrip­tures [Page 71] which are able to make wise unto Salvation. Now the Scriptures are the words of Christ, Col. 3.16. They are raies of light from this morning Star. The world was in darkness & ignorance before Christ came into it: all the Nations of the world were in thick darkness excepting one Na­tion, and that one had as it were but Candle light among them. This I take to be the mean­ing of the Apostle, 2 Pet. 1.19. There is a sure word of Prophecy to which you do well to take heed, as to a light which shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. The Apostle compares that light which the Iew­ish Church had from the Scriptures of the old Testament, to a Candle that shines in a dark Room, but now (says he) that Christ is come, and the Gospel dispensation takes place, the day is dawned, and the day Star is risen in your hearts. It was foretold that the Times of the Messiah should be Times of very great knowledge, that the light of knowledge should then abound, Isa▪ 11 9 The knowledge of the Lord shall cover the Earth, as the Waters cover the Sea. What abun­dance of waters be there in the Sea? even so, in the dayes of the Messiah, an abundance of knowledge shall cover the earth It has b [...]en so, and there is a day hast [...]ning, when it will be unspeakably more so than ever yet has been. As for knowledge concerning future events to befal the Church of God, that light is from the Lord J [...]sus Christ. He is in a special manner in the [Page 72] Text before us represented as the Morning Star, in that he has brought light to the Church con­cerning what should befal it even to his Second coming: what Changes, what Persecutions, and what Glory after all.

Again, there is the light of Saving Grace, that also is from Christ. Ioh. 1 16 Of his fulness we all receive and grace for grace. What ever grace is in any mans Soul, it is a ray darted into him from this Morning Star: and therefore Christians have more or less grace, according as Christ is pleased to shine on them, and impart this light to them. And there is the light of Joy and Conso­lation; that is called light in the Scripture. In Esthers time the Jews had Light & Ioy. A joyful day is a light day This light comes from Christ. Phil. 2 1. If there be therefore any Consolation in Christ, if there be not Consolation in Christ, 'tis no [...]ere to be had in heaven or in earth; therefore Christ is call [...]d by that name of Conso­lation, Luk 2 25 Simeon did wait for the Conso­lation of Israel, that is to say, h [...] waited for Christ's c [...]ming into the world. Once more, there is also the light of Glory ▪ Glory is called the Inheritance [...] Saints in Light, Col 1.12 This is also from Christ. We are called to Eternal Glory by Iesus Christ, 1 Pet 5 10 So then inasmuch as Christ gives light to men, he is fi [...]ly resembled to the Morning Star.

5 The Morning Star excels other Stars. It has a peculiar glory in it. And hence men of [Page 73] the greatest Eminency are compared to Stars in the Scripture. The falling of Stars from Hea­ven is a fr [...]quent expression denoting the down­fal of Princes, Rev. 8 10. There f [...]ll a great Star▪ from heaven. That Scripture was fulfilled when Augustulus the last Roman Emperour lost his Dignity. Sometimes a man that excels all other men, is resembled to the Morning Star, as th [...] King of Babylon is called by that name of Hill [...]ben Shachar, that is, the bright Star, the Son of the Morning, Isa. 14.12. How art thou fallen Lu­cifer, the Son of the Morning: 'Tis spoken con­cerning the King of Babylon. The Morning Star excels other Stars

1. In Brightness: All the Stars of heaven have a brightness in them, and are therefore expressed by that of the Brightness of the Firmament, Dan. 12 3 But the Morning Star has a singular b [...]ightness in it.

2. It Excels others in Light. The Morning S [...]ar viewed in the Telescope appears like an half Moon: It has such light in it, that sometimes i [...] has been observed to cast a Shadow. And it is often seen at mid-day when the Sun obscures the light of other Stars. But the glorious Lord Jesus Christ does excel all the Stars of God. Eminent Saints are called Stars: but Christ ex­cels them all; He is Fairer than the Children of men, and Anointed above his fellows. The An­gels are compared to Morning Stars, Iob 38.7. The Morning Stars shouted for joy, that is the An­gels [Page 74] of Heaven who were made in the morning of the Creation. Angels are not to be compar­ed with the Lord Jesus Christ; when he appears their glory disappears The Apostle uses a high­er expression concerning the glory of Christ than may be used concerning any other Man or An­gel in Heaven, in Heb. 1.3. He is the brightness of his Fathers glory. So then because of his brightness and glory he is fitly resembled to the Morning Star.

6. When the Morning Star appears the darkest time of the Night is over. The Morning Star appears at the end of the night. So did Christ appear at the end of the Jewish world, Heb 9 28. He has appeared in the end of the world; as the morning Star does appear in the end of the night. The legal Dispensation was a dark dispensation, and when that was just ended, Christ appeared, and that night of darkness which was on the world, vanished presently on his appearing, 1 Ioh. 2▪ 8. The darkness is passed away and now the true light shineth. The darkness of ignorance that was on the world, the darkness of Iudaism and Heathenism, is wonderfully pass [...]d away, & Christ in his Gospel is the true light that shipes. This Star is to be seen in the Morning Even so there is a blessed Morning that will be here over a lit­tle while, when all men shall see this bright Morning Star, namely the Morning of the Re­surrection, when the night of Death is past, and all Believers shall come out of the Land of dark­ness, [Page 75] when the R [...]surrection World shall take place, Christ will lighten the whole earth with his glory.

Lastly. The Appearance of the Morning Star is a sure Sign the day is Approaching, that the Sun will arise & shine very speedily. Some observe that it is commonly a sign of a fair day if the morning Star is seen. To be sure the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ did foretel a happy day unto the world. The Angel said to the Shepherds, in Luk. 2, 10 I bring you glad Tidings of great joy which shall be to all People, for unto you is born this day a Saviour even Christ the Lord So when Christ appears spiritually to the Souls of m [...]n, it is a sign of a blessed day: Tis a sure sign that the day of Salvation shall arise on their Souls. It was said to Zacob [...]us, Luk 19.9. Salvation is come to this house this day. Christ was come to that House and Salvation came along with him. This may be a special reason why Christ here in this Book of Revelation is represented as the Morning Star, because in this Book he does bring glad Tidings unto the World; He brings Ti­dings of his own coming, as in the Context be­fore us, Behold I come quickly. In the Morning if you see this Star, you may conclude that the Sun will quickly arise upon the world. So Christ does in the conclusion of this Book bring Tidings of a glorious day approaching unto the Church, that the Church shall one day be Tri­umphant not only in H [...]aven to all E [...]ernity, but here on Earth too, when New Ierusalem shall [Page 76] come down from Heaven. When the Saints in glory shall come down from Heaven and be re­united to their Bodies, and reside here on earth, during the glorious dispensation of Judgment, then comes the New Jerusalem down from Hea­ven. And Christ brings to the Church glad Tidings of such a day. He is then fitly resem­bled unto the Morning Star: Thus for the Si­militude. We proceed,

2. To the Dissimilitude, which is between Christ, and the Morning Star.

1. The Morning Star shines with a borrowed light. It is in it self a dark body, as all the Pla­nets are. The Morning Star would have no Splendor at all in it, were it not for the Sun that shines on it: but Christ shines with a light that is from himself. And although 'tis true concern­ing the Humane nature of Christ, that the glory of it is received, yet tis received from himself, that is to say, from his Divine nature therefore Christ said to the Jews, Ioh 2 19 Destroy this Temple. No doubt but (as some have observed) that when Christ spake these words he pointed to his own Body, and in three days I will raise it up. Christs Resurrection, so his Ascension and Glorification was from himself, from his Divine nature.

2. The Morning Star is but a Creature: but the Lord Jesus Christ he is more than a Creature. Though his Humane nature is a Creature, and in Truth the most glorious Creature that ever [Page 77] was made. There is more of God to be seen in the Humane nature of Christ than in all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth b [...]sides. But his Person is increated; he is an increated Per­son, he is the Creator: He has made the Stars, the Heavens and Host thereof are made by him: and this Morning Star that appears in the Fir­mament was made by him; nothing was ever made but what was made by him. And his be­ing thus the Creator, does distinguish him from the Morning Star. The first Creature that ever was made did receive its beginning and being from him: therefore it is said of him, in Rev. 3.14. That he is the beginning of the Creation of God: the meaning of which is not (as Arians have perversely interpreted that Scripture) that he was the first Creature but that the Creation of God received its beginning from him. Thus then we see the Doctrine cleared in the things that have been insisted on▪

For APPLICATION.

1. We should Admire the Glory of the Lord Ie­sus Christ. The most glorious Creatures do but a little set forth his glory: the Stars of Heaven, yea the bright Morning Star has no brightness in it compared with him. The Sun in the Firma­ment is darkness it self compared with the Lord Jesus Christ, Iob 25:5. Behold even to the Moon and it shineth not, yea the Stars are not pure in his [Page 78] sight. As for the Morning Star, our mortal eyes may behold the glory of it without any detri­ment, but the glory of Christ is such as no mor­tal eye can b [...]hold it, He dwells in glorious and unapproachable light whom never man saw nor in­deed can see. When Christ appeared to Paul go­ing to Damascus, there was a light above the brightness of the Sun, in its Meridian glory; it was then mid-day, but the glory of Christ was greater than the light of the Sun, Act 26.13. Ten thousand Suns would not shine so glori­ously as the Lord Jesus Christ now does When Christ was in his Estate of Humiliation, the A­postle Iohn could lay his head in his Bosome: but since in his Glorified Estate, that Apostle had an Apparition of Christ: And (said he) I fell down as dead at his [...] Rev. 1.17. We cannot admire the Lord Jesus Christ too much We may be more taken than we should be with the glory of Creatures, but we never can with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, though our Admiration should be to Adoration; that is no more than what is out indispensable duty. To worship the Morning Star as the Gentiles of old were wont to do, under the name of Venus, and as some Arabians do (at this day) is idolatry, and a horrible sin: but to worship the Lord Je­sus Christ is our duty. When he first appeared in the world there was a Miraculous Star seen: it was not a Comet, or such a Star, as is now blazing over our heads, for it directed to a par­ticular [Page 79] Town, and to a particular house [...]lso. Therefore it was such a wonderful work of God as that of the Pillar of Fire in the Wilderness, that directed the Children of Israel in the way. It may be (as some of the Ancients thought) it was an Angel appearing in the form of a Star. But by this the Wise men of the East knew that it was their Duty to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Where is he (said they) that is born King of the Iews, for we have seen his Star, and are come to worship him. There is not one An­gel in Heaven, but what does worship our Lord Jesus Christ. Heb. 1 6. Worship him all you Angels.

2. Hence then Christless Sinners are in a dis­mal Estate. For they, yea their Souls are in Midnight Darkness. Has not this Star Risen on thee? then what if thy case? Has not Christ by his Spirit risen on thee with his saving influ­ences, then thou art none of his, Rom. 8 9. If a man has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his! And if none of his, then whose art thou? And where art thou, but in the Kingdom of Dark­ness, in black chains which thy miserable Soul is captivated and held fast in them. Has not thy Soul seen this Morning Star! then thou hast no assurance that ever thou shalt see a good day. No Assurance that ever th [...]re will be a day of Salva­tion to thy soul What a miserable case be they then in, that never saw this morning star, that never heard of Christ; they sin in Darkness and in the Region of the shadow of Death. And [Page 80] those will be a thousand times more miserable that have heard of Christ, but never had an heart to believe on him. That this bright Star has risen on them, but they will not behold the glory of it; they shut their eyes against this light. This is the Condemnation that light is come in­to the world, and men love darkness rather than light; for such in a special manner is Reserved the blackness of Darkness for ever.

3. Hence then the Lords People should observe Christ's Providential Dispensations and Appearan­ces to them, so as to be encouraged thereby. Christ is wont to appear first as a Morning Star, and then as the Sun; that is to say, he does fi [...]st give a lesser degree of light unto his people, and that as an assurance of far greater light, and tha [...] the light given to them shall shine more and more to the perfect day. Christ as a Morning Star has been dispensing himself to his people in the two last ages of the World. When the Refor­mation began, then did Christ appear in his Providence as the Morning Star in respect of that light of knowledge which he blessed the world with. It was a dark day, (or a long night rather) during the Reign of Antichrist; but when the Providence of Christ began a Re­formation in the Nations near two hundred years ago, there did appear the Morning Star. And the Light has been advancing and growing ever since that day. The Age wherein we now live is an Age of great light, (would to God it were [Page 81] an Age of great zeal and holiness too) but it is an Age of greater Light than the former. There are many dark and difficult places in the Scrip­ture, that formerly could not be understood, which of late have been opened with great clear­ness. And especially in this Book of the Revela­tions. The first Reformers did very few of them search into it; and those few that did saw but a little. Calvin though I believe he was the greatest Interpreter that ever wrote ont the Bible, yet would not meddle with the Book of the Revela­tion. He professed he did no know what to make of it: When as in the last Century very many have looked into it, and made glorious discoveries; a blessed sign it is that all the glori­ous things spoken of therein shall be fulfilled in this very Age which God has now brought us to the beginning of. Inasmuch as the Book is unsealed, that is a sign the End is very near. There are two things which have lately happen­ed which I would take notice of, and one may see the Morning Star in them. Though it is true, that we have cause to expect a dismal time. A little before break of day is the darkest time of all the night. Nevertheless the morning star does appear in two things; one is that wonder­ful Conversion of Pagans to the Christian Faith that has been in our days, and very lately.

Papists have boasted of their Xaverins, who they say was an instrument of Converting ma­ny thousands of the East Indians, for which [Page 82] cause the Pope Canonized him: And in their Books they reflect on Protestants, pretending that the like was never done by those whom they call Hereticks. But alas we may say of what they have done, as Christ said to the Scribes & Pharisees, Matth. 23.15 You compass Sea and Land to make one Proselyte, and when he is made, you make him two fold more the Child of Hell than your selves. The Jesuits Converts are converted, not to Christ, but to Antichrist: They have taught them to be Idolaters: And have obtruded a false Gospel on them. Xavier has inserted diverse ficti [...]ious things concerning Christ and concern­ing the Apostle Peter, which he procured to be translated into the Persian tongue for the service of the great Mogul. Another Iesuit has added to the Gospel, the Story of the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin Mary. Thus have they corrupted the word of God with their own Inventions, deluding the miserable Heathen there­by, whom they have made more obstinate in their false belief, than if they were Pagans still. Protestants dare not teach any thing but what is according to the Scripture. And it has pleas­sed God to bless their endeavours with wonder­ful Success within these few years past, amongst the East Indians. In the Kingdom of Ieffana [...]a [...] ­man, the Lord has prospered the Labours of Five Du [...]ch Ministers, so as that above an hun­dred and forty thousand of those Indians, have embraced the true Christian Protestant Religion. [Page 83] And since that in four years time forty thousand more of them are b [...]come Christians, renouncing the Idols whom they and their Fathers worship­ped. Moreover, in Amboina there are thirty thousand Souls who have lately subjected them­selves to the Lord Jesus Christ, although (which is marvellous) many of them were Mahometans. Of these things I have had certain Advice from a Learned Professor (Dr Leusden) in the Univer­sity of Utrick in Holland, who received the ac­count of them, from the Ministers concerned in this glorious work This looks like a Morning Star

There has also of late been a notable Con­version of J [...]ws to the Christian Religion. In the City of Hamburg, several hundreds of Jews some of them Rabbis, have by the happy endea­vours of one D [...]vine, (viz Dr Esdras Edzard) been brought off from their Iudaism to Christia­nity. All these Converts have been brought to own Christ wi [...]hin these S [...]ven years l [...]st past. The like has not been known since the days of the Apostles: May we no [...] then hope that what i [...] promised concerning the Conversion of the Israelitish Nation, will ere long be gloriously ac­complished.

4. If Christ is the Morning Star how should Christians long for his Appearing Do not men that have been for a long night in darkness and in a Storm, long to see the Morni [...]g Star appear! So Christians, who are as Passengers in a Sea [Page 84] of trouble, that have had a Stormy night of it, may well long for the appearing of this Morn­ing Star to them We should long for Christs Providential Appearances, when he will deliver his persecuted Flocks: And when Princes shall oppress his People no more: Such a day is coming when the man of the Earth shall no, more oppress And we should long for Christs Personal Appearing: When he shall appear the second time unto Salvation, and when the man of sin shall be utterly destroyed by the Brightness of his Coming, and God shall give rewards to all that fear him both small and great. Then will he give a Crown of Righteousness to all that Love his Appearing Amen, Even So Come LORD IESVS, Come Quickly.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 30. line 23. read infinitely. p. 31. l. 18 r. when. p. 34 l. 26. r to his.

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