Well-accomplish'd Soldiers, a Glory to their King, and Defence to their Country.

A SERMON Preach'd at Hingham, On a Training-day there, May 10. 1738. In the Audience of Four Military Companies; And now published, at the Desire of their Officers.

By Ebenezer Gay, V. D. M.

Judg. 3.2.

Only that the Generations of the Children of Israel might know to teach them War, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof.

1 Chron. 7.40.

And the Number throughout the Genealogy of them that were apt to the War, and to Battel, was twenty and six thousand Men.

BOSTON: Printed by T. Fleet, for DANIEL HENCHMAN, over-against the Brick Meeting House in Cornhill. 1738.

[Page 1]

A Military SERMON.

2 Chron. 17.18.

And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand, ready prepared for the War.

IT was a part of the Priest's Duty, un­der the Mosaick Dispensation, to hearten and incite the Armies of Is­rael to fight the Lord's Battles, with Intrepidity and undaunted Courage. Deut. 20.2, 3, 4. It shall be when ye are come nigh unto the Battle, that the Priest shall approach, and speak unto the People, and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your Enemies: let not your heart faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your Enemies, to save you. As the Priest was to speak thus, and animate the Sol­diers to a valiant Behaviour in the Day of Battle, so questionless, he was before it, to exhort them, as there was need, to be in a readiness, duly prepared [Page 2]for it. That there was such a number of well-disci­plined Men with Jehozabad, might be partly a good Effect of the Priests and Levites faithful teaching throughout all the Cities of Judah, of which the Con­text speaks. And what the Ministers of the Lord then did, may be now equally incumbent on the Preachers of the Gospel of Peace. It is therefore (as I apprehend and undertake it) the Duty of my Post, to be a Monitor unto Soldiers; who, by coming at this time into the House of the Lord, seem to demand of me, as the Soldiers did of John Baptist, Luk. 3.14. And what shall we do? And though he is the least of Christ's Ministers, at whose Mouth they seek the Law; yet while I declare to them the Counsel of God, I may expect that they will TAKE HEED.

With this Chapter begins the History of Jehosha­phat's glorious and happy Reign over the Kingdom of Judah. He was the Son and Successor of a good King, and walked in the first ways of his Father Asa, as well as of David. His Wisdom in ordering his Military Affairs, to his own Establishment in the Throne, and the Peace and Welfare of his Subjects, is the only Thing in his Character and Administra­tion, which I shall now remark to you, as what may afford us some seasonable Instruction.

Of this we have an Account in the beginning, and from v. 12. to the End of the Chapter. Upon his Accession to the Throne, he strengthned himself against Israel. And he placed Forces in all the fenced Cities of Judah, and set Garisons in the Land of Judah, and in the Cities of Ephraim, which Asa his Father had taken. In the latter Days of Asa, which were not so pious and prosperous as his first, there was War between the Kingdom of Israel and of Judah: So that the first Thing which Jehoshaphat, after he came to the Crown, had to do, was to fortify against so near and formida­ble an Enemy. Which he did so effectually, that [...], King of Israel, instead of pushing on the War [Page 3]against him, soon courted his Alliance and Assistance. Jehoshaphat strengthened himself, not as his Father did, by a League with the King of Syria, but by building Garisons on his Frontiers, and well-manning of them. On which lawful Methods of Defence, he might expect God's Blessing, and in the use of which proper Means he trusted in God. And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly, and he built in Judah Castles and Cities of Stone: in which he had plenty of Arms, Ammuni­tion, and Victuals. And he had much Business in the Cities of Judah, which he did not through Indolence and Luxury, neglect; but did a great deal in repair­ing and fortifying the Cities of Judah, and furnishing them with necessary Provisions, as well as in purging them from the Reliques of Idolatry and Injustice. And the Men of War, mighty Men of Valour, were in Jerusalem. Jerusalem being the Metropolis of the Kingdom, and the Thrones of the House of David being set there, the principal of the Military Forces were placed in it: or at least, the Generals and Chief Captains, with some Companies of their Soldiers, at­tended the King there. And these are the Numbers of them, according to the House of their Fathers: Of Judah, the Captains of Thousands; Adnah, the Chief, and with him mighty Men of Valour, three hundred thousand. And next to him was Jehohanan the Captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand. And next to him was Amasiah the Son of Zichri, who wil­lingly offered himself unto the Lord; and with him two hundred thousand mighty Men of Valour. And of Ben­jamin; Eliada a mighty Man of Valour, and with him armed Men with Bow and Shield, two hundred thousand. And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand, ready prepared for the War: These waited on the King, besides those whom the King put in the fenced Cities throughout all Judah. The Sum total of the Soldiers under these five Captains, was Eleven Hundred and Sixty Thousand Men. It [Page 4]may seem incredible, that so vast an Army should be rais'd and maintain'd out of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin: Especially since in the preceding Reign, Asa could not bring into the Field Six hundred thou­sand Men. Chap. 14. 8. It is probable, as some con­ceive, that Jehoshaphat had not all these at one time, but successively: The Train'd-Bands of Judah being first under the Command of Adnah; and after his Death, under the Command of Jehohanan; and after­wards of Amasiah. And the Train'd-Bands of Benja­min, first under the Command of Eliada, and then of Jehozabad. Or, as others conceive, that this nume­rous Host, almost Twelve Hundred Thousand, in the Reign of Jehoshaphat, who was under a special Bles­sing of God, and waxed great exceedingly, as in Riches and Honours, so likewise in Military Strength, was dispersed all the Country over, each Man residing, for the most part, on his own Estate, only appeared on Days of Muster to be trained; and were ready, whenever there was Occasion, to go forth to War; but the Commanders, with a suitable Life-Guard, waited on the King at Jerusalem. These, saith Mr. Pool, were the Trained-Bands or Auxiliaries, whose Chief Officers waited upon the King to receive his Commands, and to raise and bring in all or part of their Forces to the Service of the King and Kingdom, as Need required.—From the Connexion of the Text and the Character given in it of the Soldiers under the Command of General Jehozabad, I may ob­serve to you this Doctrine, viz.

Doct. That it is the Honour of a Prince, and Safety of a People, to have a competent Number of Men, ready prepared for War.

The Glory of Jehoshaphat's Reign, and the Felicity of his People under it, consisted partly in the good Order of the Militia; that there was a sufficient [Page 5]Number of Trained Bands in a readiness for any Ex­pedition, throughly fitted for the War, that either was or might arise in his Time. And this is the Honour of any Prince, and Strength of any People.

Perhaps some will desire to hear proved, what is in this Doctrine supposed, That War is lawful. If it be not so in any Case, the Doctrine is false. It is no Credit to a King, nor advantage to his Subjects, but the reverse, for them to be wise to do evil, and pre­pared for a bad Work. If War be always in it self sinful, then all Dispositions to it, and Preparations for it, are so likewise. And Sin is the Reproach of any King and People: It stains all their Glory, weakens their Strength, and lays them open to Dangers and Miseries. But that War in some Cases, and with some Restrictions, is lawful and expedient, the Light of Reason and of Scripture plainly discovers. Tho' the Cause of it is always bad, and the Effects of it woful: Tho' it comes from Men's Lusts, and spreads Desolation and Death on the Face of the Earth; yet sometimes People have a Call to engage in it, and their shedding the Blood of War, may not be a trans­gression of the Divine Law, Thou shalt not kill. If it be possible, we should live peaceably with all Men: But sometimes it is not so; and then War on their Side, who used their best Endeavours for the preser­vation of Peace, is lawful and warrantable, is necessary and unavoidable. "Together with Life, and a natural Love of it, and Means to support it, God hath im­parted to every Man a Right to defend it, with its necessary Supports, against unjust, extreme and inevi­table Violence upon it, or them", and to repel Force with Force. The Law of Self-preservation, which is the Law of God and Nature, obligeth Men to fight in Defence of their Lives and Liberties, when vio­lently assaulted and invaded; and, if other Means will not prevail, to maintain, or recover their Rights by the Sword of War. The Law of Humanity, which [Page 6]is also the Law of Christianity, bindeth Men in this way to assist their Neighbours against unjust Invasions and Encroachments; and to deliver them from cruel Oppressions and Captivities. When Abram heard that his Brother Lot was taken Captive, he armed his trained Servants, born in his own House, three hun­dred and eighteen, and pursued the Enemies, and smote them: and brought back the Captives, and all their Goods * Melchizedeck, King of Salem, and Priest of the most high God, met him, and royally enter­tained him, and blessed him; thereby approving and applauding what Abram had done, in the Slaugh­ter of Chedorlaomer, and the Kings that were with him: And the New-Testament describing the Greatness of Melchizedeck, mentions this Action of his, Heb. 7.1. If War had been in all Cases unlawful, there would not have been such Permission and Encouragement given to it, as there was in the Jewish Polity, which was of Divine Institution: And the Battles which God's People fought against their Enemies, would not be called the Lord's Battles. If the Employment of Soldiers had been illegal and unwarrantable, John the Baptist would not have prescrib'd moral Rules to be observed by them in it , but advised them to quit it, and betake themselves to another Course of Life. The Centurion's Faith would not have been so highly com­mended by our Saviour , nor Cornelius's Prayers and Alms accepted by God §, if their Calling (which for all that appears they continued in) had been unlawful. Though the Gospel dissallows of private Revenge **, yet it forbids not our seeking for publick Justice, in Case of insufferable Wrong: For the Civil Magistrate is the Minister of God, a Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doth Evil *. But his Power, which is over his own People only, extends not to the redres­sing [Page 7]of Injuries that are done to them by another Na­tion. And in such Cases there may be a warlike Process by an Appeal to the Lord of Hosts, the great Patron of Right, and Dispenser of Success.—Indeed it is foretold, Isa. 2.4. that in the last Days, the Days of Gospel-Light and Peace, the Nations shall beat their Swords into Plow-shares, and their Spears into Pruning-hooks: that Nation shall not list up Sword against Na­tion, neither shall they learn War any more. But this Prophecy sheweth, that the Design of the Gospel is to introduce and establish a universal Peace, and good Will among Men on Earth; and in those on whom it hath its proper Effect, it mortifies those Lusts, from whence come Wars and Fightings. But since the Gospel is so far from being embraced by all Nations; and they who profess it, are so far from living up to the Rules and Precepts of it, the Time is not yet arrived for the full accomplishment of this Prediction and Promise. And till then, we may, by reason of Men's corrupt Interests and Lusts, which the Gospel opposeth, expect to see those Words of the Prince of Peace verified, Mat. 10.34. Think not that I am come to send Peace on Earth; I came not to send Peace but a Sword. And while accidentally, through the Corrup­tions of Men's Hearts, and the prevalence of their Lusts, the Consequent of our Lord's coming, and setting up his Kingdom is War, the prosecution of it on one side, may be what the Gospel allows, yea requires, But tho' War is sometimes lawful and expedient, yet it should be made with good Advice, and only in Case of great Necessity should People engage in, and pur­sue it. After all amicable Means of adjusting Dif­ferences between Nation and Nation, prove ineffectual, then, and not before, may they be refer'd to this Divine Arbitrement. And I can't think, but that Soldiers, who are press'd into a War, should be convinc'd of the lawfulness of it: and should not be obliged to engage in it, on a blind presumption that there are [Page 8]good Reasons for it, tho' they must not know them. All that are killed by them in an unjust War, are murdered; and the Cry of Blood is louder than the confused Noise, which there is in every Battle of the Warriour. And will the Blood unjustly shed in this manner, cry only against the Prince, by whose Autho­rity the War is levied? Will the whole Blame fall upon him? If so, then Subjects may innocently abet the Lusts, the Ambition, the Avarice, and Blood­thistiness of a King. If the Sovereign Power be the absolute and only Judge whether the Soldier's Cause and Call be good, then the Subjects of the Grand Turk may be excused and justified in the Slaughter of Chris­tians: And the Subjects of Popish Princes in the Massacre of Protestants: And the Roman Soldiers did not amiss in apprehending and crucifying our Lord, when their Superiours commanded them: And that Soldier, which is said to have told Caesar, in his first Expedition against Rome, that in Obedience to his Commands, he would not refuse to sheath his Sword in the Breast of his Brother, or in the Throat of his aged Father, or in the Bowels of his pregnant Mother, was not to be deteited for his unnatural Barbarity, but commended for his loyal Affection to his General. Which Consequences are very shocking.

Tho' it is sit, that the great and difficult Affair of War, should be entrusted with the Prince and Coun­cils of a Nation, yet Soldiers that would keep their Consciences and Hands pure from the Guilt and Stain of Blood, should modestly enquire into the Merits of the Cause in which they fight; and reasonable Satis­faction should be given them that the War is lawful, and the Cause better than their Lives, which they venture for it. The Manifestos of Kings, setting forth the Grounds and Reasons of their proclaiming War, need be clear and full, as their Commands, requiring their Subjects to engage in it, are plain and perempto­ry. Soldiers are to fight as rational and moral Agents, [Page 9]and not go forth to the War, as the Horse, which hath no Understanding, rusheth into the Battle.

It may seem as if I had made a long Digression at the very Entrance of my Discourse: But to prove that War may be lawful, was necessary, and much more is not so, to the evincing the Truth of this Pro­position, viz. That it is the Honour of a Prince, and Safety of a People, to have a competent Number of Sol­diers, ready prepared for War.—In handling which Point I shall endeavour,

  • I. To show what Men are ready prepared for War.
  • II. That such are an Honour to their King, and De­fence to their Country.

I. To show what Men are ready prepared for War.

That they are the able-bodied, the bold-spirited, the compleatly-armed, and well-disciplined.

I. The Men who are prepared for War are able-bodied. Such only are fit for War, as are endued with Strength and Agility of Body. Jehoshaphat's Men of War, are in the Context stiled, Mighty Men: They were mighty and strong Men for the War: Mighty in regard of bodily Strength. Soldiers were anciently termed, the Chosen Men. In the Choice that was made of them, respect was doubtless had to this neces­sary Qualification. Good Soldiers are such as can endure hardness; the Fatigues of long Marches, tedious Watch­ings, and hot Combats. Their Employment is labo­rious, attended with many Hardships, which the Weak­lings and Invalids cannot undergo. Such are unable to sustain the Brunts of Martial Conflict, and to repel the Assaults of potent Adversaries. There must be Strength given unto them, that turn the Battle to the Gate. And no Fortifications are made so impregnable by Nature, or Art, or both, as that the Blind and the Lame are sufficient to maintain 'em against a power [Page 10]Assailant: I allude, you know, to the Jebusites vain Confidence in the Strength of their Fort, and scoffing Defiance of David and his Forces, 2 Sam. 5, 6, 7. —Which spake unto David, saying, except thou take away the Blind and the Lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking David cannot come in hither. Ne­vertheless, David took the Strong Hold of Zion. Weak and wounded Men will not ordinarily serve to take a City, or to beat back the Besiegers *. The Lord in an extraordinary manner defends the Inhabitants of Jeru­salem, when he that is feeble among them is as David . Saul and Jonathan were thus celebrated as Men of War; 2 Sam. 1.23. They were swifter than Eagles; they were stronger than Lions.

2. The Men which are ready prepared for War, are bold-spirited. Fortitude of Mind is as necessary a Qua­lification in Soldiers, as Strength of Body. Without this, when there is the greatest Occasion for the other, the Men of Might cannot find their Hands. Strength without Courage, is as vain and insignificant, as Anger without Strength. Those under the Command of Amasiah, are said to be mighty Men of Valour And such were those mention'd in the Text, or it would not have been said of them, that they were ready pre­pared for the War. The dastardly and pusillanimous are most unfit for this Employment. It was therefore one of the Martial Laws God gave his People, Deut. 20.8. The Officers shall speak further unto the People: and they shall say, what Man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his House, lest his Brethren's Heart faint as well as his Heart. Cowards betray the Cause in which they are engaged; discourage the Hearts, and endanger the Lives, of those with whom they are listed; and embolden their Enemies, not much less timerous than themselves. A few such may let in Ruin upon a whole Army. And [Page 11]that is commonly verified in them, which Christ saith, Joh. 12.25. He that loveth his Life, shall lose it. They cast away their own Lives, which they are so fond of saving; and bring swift Destruction on them­selves, by flying from it: For as great Cowards as themselves, will eagerly pursue Fugitives, and dare run them through, or shoot them behind. "Such as shun Death, meet it oftner than they that seek it". * Julius Casar was never wounded in Battle, tho' he ever fought in the foremost Ranks of his Troops.— The Heathen Moralists reckon'd Bravery in War the highest Expression of Courage: And that the Soldier had the greatest Opportunity to shew this Vertue, be­cause Life, the dearest Thing to a Man in this World, is risqued in War. And 'tis certain, that he is not fit for War, that is afraid to die. Soldiers therefore need make their Peace with God, that they may be pre­par'd for War; and be sure of the Goodness of their State, as well as Cause, that they may be ready to march into the Mouth of Danger, and meet the King of Terrors in the Field of Battle. If they are Enemies to God, and in a State of Condemnation, their Valour is Vain-glory, rather than true Courage. Pagan Phi­losophers taught, that Fortitude is always accompanied with Justice and Truth. Christians may further add, that it is joined with Piety and Faith. The Wicked often fear where no Fear is; and are most likely to be dispirited, to be afraid with great Amazement, when they shall hear the Alarm of War, and be called out to Action, in which they must jeopard their Lives. Psal. 28.1. The wicked flee, when no Man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a Lion. These have good Reason to be so, for God's Providence is engaged with them, and for them: And the Helmet of Salvation, which is the Hope of Eternal Life, may well make them to hold up their Heads in the midst of Dangers, [Page 12]and to set Death at Defiance. Tho' they are not sure of a Victory on Earth, yet they may be of a Triumph in Heaven. If they prevail against their Enemies, they are apparent Conquerors; if they fall before them, they die in Peace with God, and shall be happy for ever. No Attempts of Pagan Heroes are so gallant, no Exploits so illustrious, as those of God's Worthies. Their Faith made them valorous and victorious. —Through Faith they subdued Kingdoms—escaped the Edge of the Sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in Fight, turned to flight the Armies of the Aliens *

3. The Men who are ready prepared for War, are compleatly-armed. The first Inventer of Weapons to fight with, was probably Tubal-Cain, whom Zillab bare to Lamech: He is said to be an Instructer of every Artificer in Brass and Iron, Gen. 4.22. For this he was Deify'd by Men; this gain'd him a high Place among the Gods of the Nations, under the Name of Vulcan.

Instruments of Death are necessary and useful in War. If fewer Lives would be destroyed, more Cripples, 'tis likely, would be made, by fighting with­out them. Men would act greater Cruelties upon one another, and the Controversy not be so soon decided. If War therefore be just, it may lawfully be managed with armed Violence; and the Mischiefs of it may be less, than if it were prosecuted by naked Combatants.— Various have been the Weapons of War, which the different contending Nations of the Earth have in­vented and used against one another. Guns and Swords are now the most common. And they who are not furnished therewith, are not fitted for War. Strength and Courage are not sufficient without Armour of Proof. To the best natural Accomplishments for War, there must be added Military Equipments. The [Page 13]mighty Men of Valour under Jebozabad, were, like those under Eliada, armed with Bow and Shield: Weapons, offensive and defensive: or it would not have been said, that they were ready prepared for the War. The People were destitute of such Soldiers, and were in a distressed Case when War was in the Gates; and there was not a Shield or Spear to be found among Forty thousand in Israel, Judg. 5.8. Either their Oppressors had disarmed them; or their Weapons, through their own Sloth and Negligence, had been so long disused, that the Rust had spoiled them. And in Saul's Time, there was no Smith found throughout all the Land of Israel: (for the Philistines said, lest the Hebrews make them Swords or Spears) 1 Sam. 13.19. So it came to pass in the Day of Battle, that there was neither Sword nor Spear found in the Hand of any of the People that were with Saul and Jonathan, Vers. 22. The Philistines were very politick in depriving the Israelites of Smiths, lest they should make for them­selves Instruments of War. But very impolitick and mean were the Israelites in suffering the Philistines thus to impose upon them. And tho' God took occasion from their being so ill-provided for War, to glorify his Power in the Discomfiture and Destruction of their Enemies, yet this was inexcusable Negligence in them. Altho' the Lord saveth not with Sword and Spear *, tho' he sometimes giveth Success to those who are destitute of suitable Weapons of War, to shew that the Battle is his; yet they have no regular Trust in him, who take no Care to furnish themselves with the same. Tho' Soldiers take to themselves the Shield of Faith, yet they must have material Instruments of War that they may be prepared for it. David went forth in the Name of the Lord of Hosts to fight Goliah, yet he took his Sling in his Hand, and chose him five smooth Stones out of the Brook, 1 Sam. 17.40. He [Page 14]put off Saul's Armour, because it did not fit him, he had not proved it; he had not then much Experience of such Weapons, which the King would have had him made use of. He was better accoutred with his Sling, and the small Stones he pick'd out of the Brook. He prefer'd these Weapons, how contemptible soever in the Eyes of others, because he had been accustom'd to them. And they were indeed the fittest for his pur­pose. A little Stone from his Sling was a proper In­strument to lay the Gigantick Foe on the Ground; and then there was no Sword like Goliab's own, where­with to give the finishing Stroke, and compleat the Victory, by cutting off his Head.

4. The Men who are ready prepared for War, are well-disciplined. This comprizeth two necessary and excellent Qualifications of Soldiers; that they be skil­ful and governable.

1. Well-disciplin'd Men are train'd up to military Exercises. Are expert in War; are instructed in the Arts of it; acquainted with the Methods of Fighting. They are such, to whom the Beat of the Drum, and Sound of the Trumpet, are not uncertain and strange: to whom the Words of Command are familiar, and easy to be executed. That understand the Business of their respective Posts; the part which every one is to perform: That can readily take their Places, and keep their Ranks: That know the various Marches, Facings and Postures, to receive an Attack from, and make an Assault on their Enemies; how to Charge and Retreat: And that can dextrously handle their Arms: As the Gadites, who seperated themselves unto David, Men of War, fit for the Battle, that could handle Shield and Buckler *.— As God doth instruct the prudent Husbandman to discretion, and teach him: so he doth likewise the expert Soldier. David, who excel'd in martial Knowledge, gave God the Glory of [Page 15]it. Psal. 144.1. Blessed be the Lord, my Strength, which teacheth my Hands to War, and my Fingers to fight. Military Skill is to be obtain'd from the Lord of Hosts, in the use of proper Means; and not to be expected by extraordinary Instruction or immediate Infusion. Tho' it is a good Gift that cometh down from the Father of Lights, yet it is an acquired Endowment. By Study and Exercise, Men are to learn War. David bad them teach the Children of Judah the use of the Bow, 2 Sam. 1.18. God, by Men and Means teach­eth the Hands of Soldiers to War. Military Skill is a requisite Preparation for War. Without it, Strength cannot be exerted nor Courage shewed, nor Weapons handled, to good purpose. Eccl. 8.18. Wisdom (of which Military Skill is one Branch) it better than Wea­pons of War. They who are destitute of it, will be more likely to hurt themselves than their Enemies, with their own Weapons. A few train'd Bands usually do greater Exploits than Armies of unskilful Soliders Vastly numerous Hosts have been routed and put to Flight by a few regular Troops; and large Kingdoms overturned by the small Force of expert Warriours. Abraham's three hundred and eighteen Men, with which he pursued and smote four potent and victorious Kings, were his trained Servants *: Such as he had well instructed in the Military Art: and with which he prudently attack'd a numerous Army, coming upon them from several Quarters, that he might strike them with the greater Terror. Skill in War often defeats the Enemy's Strength; and it helps the Soldier to make the best use of his own. Psal. 18.34. He teach­eth my Hands to War, so that a Bow of Steel is broken by mine Arms. Wonderful Feats could David perform with Hands that were so well taught. His breaking a Bow of Steel was the Effect of his Skill, rather than of his Strength. He did it, not so much by main [Page 16]Force, as by slight of Hand. And his killing Goliah was not purely miraculous, nor meerly accidental. Tho' the Finger of God is not to be excluded from, yet David's Skill was improv'd in that remarkable Action. It was indeed by God's Providence, but not without David's Art, that the Stone was directed to such a Place, and came with such Force, as to cast down the mighty Champion. David did not use his Sling, as the Man, who smote Ahab through the Joints of his Harness, drew a Bow at a venture *, when he smote the Philistine in the Forehead, that the Stone sunk thereinto, and he fell upon his Face to the Earth . To shew his Contempt of David, Goliah might come negligently towards, and in his scornful Rage turn back his Helmet, and expose his naked Forehead to so inferiour a Combatant. One of the Rabbins supposeth, that when Goliah said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy Flesh unto the Fowls of the Air, he threw up his Head in Disdain so hastily, that his Helmet fell off, and so left his broad Forehead a fair Mark for David's Sling. But if Goliah kept on that piece of his Armour, yet David might level so right, as to hit the Place which was left open for his Adversary's Eyes. Is it not probable, that he was as good a Mark's. Man as the Seven hundred Left-handed Benjamites we read of in Judg. 20.16. Every one of whom could sling Stones at an Hair's breadth, and not miss.

2. Well-disciplin'd Men are subject to Martial Orders. Are not only train'd up to Military Exercises, but inur'd to the observance of Establish'd Laws of Arms. That are obedient to their Commanders in all things, consistent with their Obedience to God: like the Men of Issachar that were ready arm'd to the War, and came with the other Tribes of Israel to David to He­bron, to turn the Kingdom of Saul to him; who are [Page 17]thus described, 1 Chron. 12.32. Men that had Under­standing of the Times, to know what Israel ought to do: the Heads of them were two hundred, and all their Bre­thren were at their Commanament. The Princes of Issachar knew how to rule, and the Commonalty of that Tribe were dispos'd to obey: The Leaders were intelligent and judicious, and the Soldiers modest and obsequious. Out of the high Esteem they had of their Commander's Wisdom and Prudence, they were at their Beek; willing to be directed and order'd by them. The Centurion had a well-disciplin'd Band, who said to Christ, in Mat. 8.9. I am a Man under Authority, having Soldiers under me: And I say to this Man, Go, and be goeth: and to another, Come, and be cometh: and to my Servant, Do this, and he doth it. Good Order is the Beauty and Strength of an Army, as well as of any other Society: And it consists in the prudent Conduct of Officers, and obsequious Car­riage of Soldiers. If Men will not observe the Rules of Military Order, they are not prepared for War, how well soever they may in other Respects be ac­complish'd for it. Their Strength, and Courage, and Weapons, and Skill, do only fit them to do more Mischief to their King and Country, than their Ene­mies can. Mutinous, seditious, disobedient Soldiers overthrow the Commonwealth, and betray the Cause which they should maintain. A discontented, mur­muring Spirit in an Army, is like a Fever in the Body; or Fire in a City. A mutinous Army is the nearest Resemblance of Hell; and next to Hell, the worst Place for any Man to be in. They are not well-dis­ciplin'd therefore, and prepar'd for War, who are not governable, and subject to Martial Order.—"Mar­lius Forquatus (a Roman Commander) put his own Son to Death, because he fought contrary to his Di­rections, tho' he proved victorious. A French Gene­ral once Knighted a Soldier, because he was the first Man that climb'd the Bulwark of a besieged Fort, [Page 18]whereupon ensued the gaining of it, and then hang'd him within an Hour after, because he did it with­out Command. Julius Caesar was of another Tem­per; for when he saw that Scava, one of his Soldiers transgress'd in Discipline in Battle against the Britains, but behaved himself with singular Valour, he pre­fer'd him to a Centurion's Place". I do not approve the Severity of the two first Instances, nor the mild­ness of the last: A middle way betwixt both seems most eligible, and might serve to make Solders care­ful, that they do not transgress the Rules of Order, and violate the establish'd Laws of Arms.

Having thus consider'd what Men are ready pre­par'd for War, I am next to shew,

II. That it is the Honour of a Prince, and Safety of a People, to have a competent Number of such.

The Glory of Kings, and Welfare of their Subjects, are not to be seperated, but may be distinguish'd; and a sufficient Number of able-bodied, couragious, well-arm'd and disciplin'd Soldiers, contributes not a little to both.

1. It is for a Prince's Honour, to have a suitable Number of Men, ready prepar'd for War.

God, the great King of Heaven and Earth, is glo­rious, as he is the Lord of Hosts. This is one of his magnificient Titles: The Lord of Hosts is his Name. All his Works, in all Places of his universal Domi­nion, are his Hosts: so that there is not any Number of his Armies. All his Creatures are ranged by him in a goodly and convenient Order. Like an Army marshalled to Battle, or marching in Array, they are under his Conduct, ready prest for his Service, and when he speaks, or only beckens to them, or hisseth for any of them, they immediately engage in his Quarrel. Isa. 40.26. Lift up your Eyes on high, and behold who hath created these Things, that bringeth out their Host by Number; he calleth them all by Names, by the greatness of his Might, for that he is strong in [Page 19]Power, not one faileth. When he calleth them by their Names, they readily answer, Here we are . He ordereth his Creatures as a General mustereth his Troops, and draws out the Squadrons of his Army; and he hath a Magazine and Treasury, out of which to supply any of his Hosts, which he sends forth on an Expedition. Hast thou entred into the Treasure: of the Snow? or hast thou seen the Treasures of the Hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the Day of Battle and War *.—God, it's true, need­eth no Host to guard his Life, to support his Dignity and Government, and to fight his Battles. But that we may have some Conception of his Majesty, and Glory, and Power, he is represented as a mighty General, that hath numberless Legions under his Com­mand. The Lord of Hosts he is the King of Glory. Selab. And an earthly King, who is a visible God, a Repre­sentative and Vicegerent, of the invisible, eternal King, as in other Respects he resembles him, so in this he is like him, when he hath a puissant Host, a well-modelled Army, a competent Number of Sol­diers, ready prepar'd for War. This is a very con­siderable part of a Prince's Grandeur, and a necessary Defence upon all his other Glory. Prov. 14.28. In the multitude of People is the King's Honour: but in the want of People is the Destruction of the Prince. His Honour being opposed to his Destruction, among the multitude of People in which his Honour is, there must be a sufficient Number of good Soldiers; for in the want of such, how numerous soever his People be, is his Destruction.—Much of the Honour of Kings is borrow'd from their Subjects, and depends upon them; and from which of their Subjects doth more Honour ordinarily accrue to them, than from their brave, expert and victorious Soldiers, and on which is it more dependant? Where we have an Ac­count [Page 20]of David's Greatness, we have a Catalogue of his mighty Men, 1 Chron. 11.9, 10. David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of Hosts was with him. These also are the Chief of the mighty Men whom David had. The Presence of the Lord of Hosts made him great, but this it did by Men and Means. It was his Greatness, Reputation and Honour to be at­tended and served by such mighty Men of Valour.— In having a well-order'd Militia, a sufficient Number of Soldiers, ready prepar'd for War, a Christian King gives Proof of his Wisdom and Faithfulness, as he is constituted by God, the Parent and Guardian of his Country, a Protector of the Church, and Patron of Religion. He manifests a generous Concern to de­fend his People from foreign Injuries and Invasions, and to secure them from intestine Broils and Factions; that under his Shadow they may enjoy Safety and Quiet, may reap the Fruits of their Industry, and not be disturb'd in the Practice of Godliness and Vertue: and therefore 'tis his Honour.

2. The Safety of a People requires, that they should have among them a competent Number of Soldiers, ready prepared for War. The Honour of a Prince is the Happiness of his People: What conduceth to his Glory, doth so to their Felicity. His Hononr is founded in those good Qualities and Deeds, which tend to their Advantage. He doth not acquire Ho­nour without their Aid and Concurrence: nor could he retain it without their Support: which they cannot afford him, unless they are protected in the Enjoy­ment of their Lives and Properties. As therefore a competent Number of Soldiers, throughly fitted for War, adds much to his Glory; so 'tis by necessary Consequence at parant, that the Safety of his People lyeth very much therein.

A Militia put into and kept in good Posture, is the Safety of a People, as it detereth and discourageth Enemies from making War upon them. It is said [Page 21]in our Context, That the Fear of the Lord fell upon all the Kingdoms of the Land that were round about Judah, so that they made no War against Jehoshaphat. His vast Army of Men, so well prepar'd for War, and his Forts and fenced Cities, in Conjunction with his eminent Piety, (of which we read in this Chapter) struck a Terror upon the neighbour Nations, which had before forely vexed the Kingdom of Judah, so that they did not for some time attempt any thing against it. But if a People are destitute of Men pre­par'd for War, their Carelessness about their own De­fence encourageth, yea invites, aforeign Invasion. A monitory Example we have of this in Judg. 18. The Spies whom the Danites sent to look out a more com­modious Place for them to dwell in, came to Laish, and saw the People that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure: That the City was unfortified and the Men unarm'd and undisciplin'd; not being apprehensive of any Danger, because they had perhaps enjoy'd a long Peace. The Spies returning, spake thus to their Bre­thren, Arise, that we may go up against them.—Ye shall come to a People secure—for God hath given it into your Hand. And the Children of Dan encou­raged by this Report, came unto Laish, unto a People that were at Quiet, and secure, and they smote them with the Edge of the Sword, and burnt the City with Fire. Six hundred Men with Weapons of War, ob­tain'd an easy and intire Conquest over that People, which dwelt in a large Land, because they were so unprepar'd to resist an Enemy.—A well-instructed Militia is the Safety of a People, as such is most likely to stop their invading Foes, and turn the Battle to the Gate of their Enemies. They should not indeed boast of the Strength and Bravery of their Soldiers, nor confide in the best military Provisions for their De­fence: For the Battle is not always to the Strong; and God, in whom we should trust, can save a People, and [Page 22]destroy their Enemies, by the weakest and most im­probable Means. He can make a little Barley-Cake to strike and overturn a Midianitish Tent: And three hundred Men, with no other Weapons than Trumpets, earthen Pitchers, and Lamps, to confound and scatter a huge Host * He can demolish the strongest Walls, with the Blast of Rams-Horns, and the Noise of People shouting, as easily as with battering Rams, or roaring Cannons, and massy Bombs. But if People pretend to rely on God to save them from their Ene­mies, and fight their Battles, while they are not care­ful to provide for their own Defence, they tempt him rather than trust in him. The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon, Judg. 7. 8. "The Sword of the Lord is all in all to the Success of the Sword of Gideon, yet the Sword of Gideon must be employed. Men the Instruments, and God the principal Agent, must both be consider'd in their Places". When Joshua was going to dispossess the Canaanites, he was assur'd of God's Presence with him, yet was enjoyn'd to be strong, and very couragious. We should do our utmost towards our own Preservation and Success against our Enemies, while we trust in God therefor. It was a brave Speech which Joab made at the Head of his Army, when the Front of the Battle was against him both before and behind, 2 Sam. 10.12. Be of good Courage, and let us play the Men for our People, and for the Cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good. God can save without Means, or by Means least fitted to the End: But 'tis his ordinary way to work by Means, and to work most by the aptest Means. A suitable Number therefore of Men, ready prepared for War, are the visible Strength and Safety of a People, as well as the Honour of their Prince.

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1. We may from bence infer, that if a Prince and People consult their own Honour and Safety, they will be careful to have always a sufficient Number of Men, ready prepared for War. They will encourage a Mar­tial Spirit, and do what is respectively incumbent on them, to promote Military Skill and good Order; that the Commonwealth may not be destitute of able and expert Soldiers, who are its Beauty and Defence. There was no War against Jeboshaphat, when he took such Care, and his People concur'd with him in it, to have the Militia in a good Posture,—so many thou­sand mighty Men of Valour, well-arm'd and disci­plin'd, ready for Service, whenever there should be Occasion. And his Father Asa, in whose Days the Land had Quiet Ten Years, call'd upon his People to join with him in making a good Use of the Peace they enjoy'd, by fortifying their Cities, arming and training their Soldiers: The Number of which out of Judah, that bare Targets and Spears, were three bun­dred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare Shields, and drew Bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: All these were mighty Men of Valour * And they found the Benefit of having a well-equip'd and power­ful Army; for by it, under God, was discomfited and destroy'd an Host of a thousand Thousand, and three hundred Chariots, of the Ethiopians, that came against them. Prudent States, wise Kings and Nations, when they sheath the Sword, take up the Trowel; and in Time of Peace, prepare for War. In the Country of Laish, where the People dwelt careless and secure, till a small Regiment of Danites smote them with the Edge of the Sword, there was no Magistrate that might put them to Shame in any thing . The. People were [Page 24]stupidly regardless of their own Safety, and their Magistrates (if they had any) indulg'd and counte­nanc'd them, as in other Faults, so also in their wretched Security: did nothing to make 'em sensible and asham'd of their Nakedness. A neglect of war­like Preparations for their own Defence, is shameful both in Magistrates and People, and often proves the Ruin of both.

Tho' there hath been of late more of a Martial Spirit to be observed among us, than was formerly; and something hath been done in many Places toward the Recovery of Martial Skill, which was almost lost; yet it might be humbly ask'd, whether the Govern­ment be not wanting to their own Honour, and the People's Safety, in not providing Laws, guarded with severer Penalties than those we have at present, to oblige Soldiers to attend the Exercises, which are ne­cessary to sit them for War? And whether People are not defective in furnishing their Young Men with proper Weapons of War, and encouraging them to learn the dextrous Use of them? And whether that Respect is paid to those, who by a laudable Care and Diligence, have acquir'd Martial Knowledge, do excel in it, and endeavour to propagate it, which is due to Men, who desire in this Way to honour their King, and serve their Country?

2. We may hence infer the Duty of Soldiers, to be ready prepared for War. Since their being so, is the Honour of their Prince, and Safety of their People, their Obligation thereunto is apparent, strong and sacred. They should faithfully endeavour to be so, for Conscience sake twards God, who requires them, and every other Order of Men, to honour the King, and seek the publick Safety and Welfare, in which the Glory of God is so much interested. 'Tis said of Amasiah, one of the brave Generals, in our Context, that he willingly offered himself unto the Lord. And thus should every Commander, and private Centinel, [Page 25]in the Militia do, should offer himself, not only to his King, to serve him, and his People; but to the Lord, to glorify him, in the Calling of a Soldier. That his Strength, and Skill, and Courage, and Wea­pons of War; all his Military Accomplishments and Atchievements, may be HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD OF HOSTS. This, according to the Prophecy of Zechariah, Chap. 14. Vers. 20. was to be the Inscription upon the Bells of the Horses, in the Day of Gospel-Light. It should be written on the Furniture of War-Horses, and would be the greatest Ornament to them, and Honour to those who ride upon them. Soldiers should piously design the Honour of God, in all that they undertake, for the Honour of the King; and aim to serve God, in serving their Country: GOD, THE KING, AND OUR COUNTRY, should be the Soldiers MOTTO, and animating Word. If Soldiers are endued with a true Principle of Obedience to God, of Loyalty to their Prince, and Love to the Commonwealth, they will conscientiously endeavour to be ready prepared for War. Wherefore, I be­seech you, Brethren, who this Day appear in Arms, and all of your Order here preseat, suffer the Word of Exhortatio;; which may be addressed,

  • 1. To military Officers.
  • 2. To private Soldiers.

1. Let military Officers, of every Rank and Deno­mination, faithfully endeavour that they themselves, and all under them, may be ready prepared for War. Ac­quaint your selves with the Business of your respective Posts, and diligently attend the same. 'Tis reasonably expected that you, of whom others are to learn War, should be expert in it your selves: throughly skill'd in all the Exercises of the Military Art. It is a great Reproach to an Instructer in any Art, when it may be justly said unto him, Thou therefore which teachest another, teaches;t thou not thy self? 'Tis a Disgrace to the Militia, when the LEADER of a Company, is [Page 26]fit only to be a BRINGER-UP OF THE FRONT-HALF-FILES. Superiour Skill is requisite for them that are not appointed to teach others. And they should study, and take Pains, that they may be well-accomplish'd Commanders.—When you muster and embattail your Troops, let it not be to make a Show only; or meerly to divert your selves and others, and beat the Air with Trumpets, Drums and Guns: But let all those Exercises be perform'd, which are ne­cessary and useful to instill and increase Military Knowledge, and make expert and brave Soldiers. The Four Days in a Year allotted for Trainings, may well be spared from other Employments, by those who are good Husbands of their time; and it would be very unreasonable and absurd in them that are Prodigals of their Time, to complain of this Expence: But 'tis Pity, that those Days should be Days of Vanity, and be wasted (as they too often are) to little or no good Purpose.

With manly Courage and Prudence exercise that Authority which, in the several fit Degrees of Sub­ordination under the CAPTAIN-GENERAL, you are cloathed with. This is necessary for the preservation of good Order, and the promoting of Martial Skill and Valour among the Soldiers. And by a grave Deportment, a steady Conduct, and singular Expert­ness in Warlike Exercises and Affairs, you'll better maintain your Authority, support the Dignity of your Posts, and engage the dutiful Respects of those under your Command, than you can do by a strut­ting Gate, big Looks, and domineering Words; yea, than by the greatest Severity of Discipline, or Expence of Military Treats.

2. Let private Soldiers get ready prepared for War. Do not through Pride, or Sloth, or Worldliness, or Dissatisfaction, neglect a Duty, which you owe unto God, to your King, and to your Country. The Con­straint of Conscience (without the Coertion of humane [Page 27]Laws) should be effectual, to make you appear at your Colours, on appointed Days of Muster, and at­tend the Exercises, which may fit you for publick Service.—Guard against every Thing which may hinder your profiting by such Means of Instruction, and defeat the good End of Trainings. Let there be no Murmurings against Officers, nor Quarrels among Fellow-Soldiers. Keep your Hearts with Di­ligence; watch your Spirits, that you be not, by the fair Pretences of the envious Sowers of Discord, and by slight Provocations from any, enflam'd into Dis­content, Wrath and Wrangling. If you would be thought mighty Men of Valour, betray not such Weakness, as to be easily conquer'd by your own Passions. They that are ungovernable, mutinous, and soon angry, may have little of true martial Fire in them. Good Soldiers have "warm Hearts, and cool Heads.—Take heed unto your selves, lest at any time, (and especially when you appear in Arms) your Hearts be over-charged with surfeiting and Drunkenness. If the Grecian Combatants to prepare themselves for Running or Cuffing, were temperate in all things *; ought not Christian Soldiers much more to be so, that they may be prepar'd for War? It is a great Preju­dice to Military Improvements, as well as Reproach to the Christian Name, that Training-Days are so often followed with disorderly revelling Nights: with Rioting and Drunkenness, Chambering and Wanton­ness, Strife and Fighting. For Whoredom and Wine, and new Wine take away the Heart . By serving their Lusts and Pleasures, Men consume their Strength of Body and Mind, and disqualify themselves for the Service of their King and Country. Playing the Fool unfits you to play the Men for your People, and the Cities of our God. After you have been in the Field displaying your Martial Strength and Skill, and bran­dishing [Page 28]the Weapons of War, to shew with what Bravery you will, if there shall be Occasion, employ the same against our Enemies, to be so soon conquer'd, cast down wounded, and led away Captives, by fleshly and base Lusts, how inglorious, how shameful is it! Too often hath this been told in Gath, and published in the Streets of Ashkelon, to make the un­circumcised Enemies, that war against our Souls, re­joice. —But, Brethren, I hope better Things of you, tho' I thus speak.—I speak not these Things to shame you, but as my beloved Sons I warn you.— Remember this and shew your selves Men.—Be ambitious and industrious to excel in Martial Know­ledge and Valour. Addict your selves to all those Exercises, which may render you well-accomplish'd Soldiers. And so you may be an Honour to your King, and Blessing to the Land; and we may glory in you as one part of the Beauty and Strength of our Israel.

Suffer me one Word to this whole Assembly.— O prepare for the War, in which there is no Discharge.

I have exhorted those of the Military Order to be ready prepared for War, from which the Land hath these many Years, through the Favour of God, had Rest; and which we pray it always might (tho' we are far from presuming it always will) have: Let me exhort Persons of every Order, and Age, and Condition, and Sex, to be also ready for a War, that is certain and unavoidable.—A War from which no Release can be obtain'd; no Exemption for Men, nor Women; for the Righteous, nor the Wicked; for the High, nor the Low; for the Rich, nor the Poor; nor the Strong, nor the Weak; for the Old, nor the Young; for the most buisy; the new-mar­ried; nor the faint-hearted.—The War was pro­claim'd in Paradise; it began at the Fall of Adam, and will continue to the End of the World. It hath raged in every Land; and the Deselations made by [Page 29]it, O how sad and rueful! You know what I mean.— The War is betwixt Mankind and Death.—We are all of us prest into it, and must soon be actually en­gag'd in it, to fight the decisive Battle for an eternal Kingdom.—The Trumpet now sounds a Preparative to it: ARM. ARM. ARM. The Enemy is within our Gates, and is laying Siege to the Fort of our Life. Have we our Armour ready? have we prov'd it?— Put on the whole Armour of God. Stand in a continual Readiness for the Assault: Having your Loins girt about with Truth, and having on the Breast-plate of Righteousness, and your Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Above all, taking the Shield of Faith, and take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying al­ways with all Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance *. Being arm'd with these Divine Graces, and Christian Vertues, we shall be prepar'd for the terrible Conflict: Be valiant and victorious in the last Battle. Through Christ, the glorious Captain of our Salvation, be more than Con­querors over the all-conquering Champion, Death.— As Jehoshaphat's Army went forth against the Chil­dren of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, (a very for­midable Host that came against Judab) with Singers, to Charge in the Front with that Doxology, Praise the Lord, for his Mercy endureth for ever : So we may be able to meet the last Enemy, the King of Terrors, with that Song of Triumph in our Mouths, O Death, where is thy Sting? O Grave where is thy Victory? The Sting of Death is Sin, and the Strength of Sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the Vic­tory, through our Lord Jesus Christ .


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