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swer the reproach of Peninah because she spoke from hatred. “ Cur respondet sacerdoti, sed Peninnæ non respondeat Anna? quia Peninna erat persona privata, sacerdos autem publica: item Peninna loquebatur ex odio, sacerdos ex zelo: unde illud negligendum erat, ille instruendus."-Mend. in Sam. Surely malignant clamours are best answered when neglected. Tutius aliquando agit qui calumnias non exaudet. Jesus Christ was eclipsed that God's servants might shine.
Your work, also, is or may be disadvantageous unto your own particular interests, your public employments cannot but hinder your private affairs, yet be pleased to remember Moses and Joshua, who were men of great service in their generation, having as full an opportunity to have made themselves rich as ever men had, yet we do not read of any great lot they shared out to themselves or their posterity. You are now employed upon God's service; as for your own private affairs, if you afford them some relics of your love, and so much only as the public leaves, it is enough; for what is too cold for God is hot enough for the world; yet as the baggage unto an army, so are things temporal to spiritual, and personal estates to public employments. “ Toleramus potius præsentia quam diligamus.”—Augustin.
And in the throng of all your discouragements, be pleased also to remember how good, how honourable, how successful your service is and will be.
It is good, first, in regard of the State ; for you are now in travail for your country's liberty, which though it may stick some time in the birth, and a dragon stand before you to devour it before it is born, yet in due time it shall be brought forth, and we shall not only be liberati, but liberi. The Hebrews have a proverb
that who80 ,פרעגדר ישכנו הנחש ,which they have borrowed_of_Solomon
breaketh down the bedge s'all be bitten with serpents. The hedges of the State or Church are the laws, as Drusius interprets it: “ Qui diruit maceriam, eum mordebit serpens ; qui legum constitutiones impingit, non feret impune; qui religionis sacra violat, non erit a pæna immunis :" or the ordinances thereof. Those enemies of yours or ours, that have or would tread down our hedges even to the ground, shall not ever go unpunished. When the hedge is lowest the serpent is nearest.
Good, again, in regard of the churches ; for through your pains and labour of love, those swelling parts, I had almost said wens, which engrossed all the out. ward nutriment unto themselves, the direful presage of a people's death and ruin, are either taken off or made more proportionable. “Ut videmus in corpore humano (cui apostolus in pluribus epistolarum suarum passibus comparat) quod si nutrimentum luit ad unum membrum, ita ut enormiter ingrossetur et alia nimia attenuatione demacerentur non potest diu vivere: sic in corpora eccles. si superiores fiant ita graves attractione substantiæ quod inferiores vix possunt præ inopia se sustinere, hoc est signum jam propinquæ ruinæ.”—Gersom.
Your service is very bonourable ; for what greater honour than under Jesus Christ to be your country's saviours and your Lord's servants) Upon Moses's death, it was said, Moses, the servant of the Lord, is dead; not Moses, the prince of the people, but the servant of the Lord, So Psalm xviii., in the title of the Psalm, it is said, “ A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord;" not, A Psalm of David, the anointed king of Israel, but, as if it were more honour to be God's servant than Israel's king, it is said, the servant of the Lord: such honour have all our worthies.
Your service is and will be most successful ; it is truth you stand for; and though the truth may labour, as Hierom speaks, it cannot be overcome: " Veritas laborare potest, vinci non potest.” for what, saith Mendoza, is more
impregnable than the heavens ? and truth hath built itself a tower there. " Quid enim cælo inexpugnabilius ? veritas arcem in cælo collocavit," Ps. cxix.
Thy word, O Lord, is settled in the heavens," Ps. cxix. Wherefore, worthy Sirs, as heretofore, so now much more be always abounding in the work of the Lord, in due time you shall reap if you faint not. If you want money to carry on your (yet not your, but God's) public design, remember what was promised unto Cyrus, who in regard of rebuilding the temple, was to do your work in the type. “ 1 will go before thee, saith God, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron, and will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,” Isa. xlv. 2, 3. And doth not your own experience tell you, thus, even thus hath our God dealt by us; for the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places have been brought forth unto us ; gold and silver that hath not seen the light for many years before. God is the same God still, and his promise, which is your mint, the same.
If you want outward strength and power, then remember how often, when the Jews were to build the temple, and therein to meet with enemies, the Lord in. culcates that his attribute upon them, the Lord of Hosts : “ Thus saith the Lord of Hosts," thrice in one verse, Zech. xv. 3; and five times in four short verses, Hag. ii.
“ Silver is mine, and gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts ; I will fill this house with my glory, saith the Lord of Hosts,” &c.
And if you find not the hearts of the people coming up always to your forwardness, then your wisdom knoweth how to improve the beats of their hearts while they last. All things, you know, are easy and beautiful in their season ; and because men know not time and judgment, therefore their misery is great upon them.
But, above all things, let your eye be upon that most which God's eye is most upon, truth, reformation, and pure religion. State hypocrites desire truth for peace sake, godly statesmen desire peace for truth's sake; war is for peace, but peace for truth : wherefore that I may serve you herein, I take the boldness to lay these few lines before you.
The sermon calleth for exactness of reformation. If I have not been exact, whilst I have called for exactness, your goodness knoweth as well how to connive at what is mine, as to embrace what is God's. Go on, right worthy patriots, still to defend your country, to contend for truth, to be willing to lose and be lost for Christ. Whilst I live, I shall live praying for you, and when I die, I hope I shall die praising God for you. Your humble servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ,
ZECHARIAH 1. 18—21, 11. 1.
“ 18. Then lift I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.
“ 19. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.
· 20. And the Lord shcwed me four carpenters. “ 21. Then said I, What come these to do? and he spake, saying,
These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the gentiles, which lift up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.
"1. I lift up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring-line in his hand."
ALTHOUGH, according to the English translation, these words are parts of several chapters, yet in many Hebrew copies the iind chapter begins where my text doth, and they have such connection that I may not part them.
Three things there are which this age of ours hath brought forth: malignant enemies; special instruments of their ruin; and great endeavours for reformation. Accordingly here are three visions : a vision of " four horns,” verses 18, 19; a vision of “ four carpenters,” verses 20, 21; a vision of “ man with a measuring-line in his hand,” ii. 1.
Every vision hath its narration and explication.
The narration of the first vision is at the 18th verse, “ I saw, and behold four horns :” the explication in the 19th verse, “ These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” So that
You have the description of the church's enemies under the vision of four horns, who are here described, 1. From their number or multitude; they are four horns according to the tour parts of the world: Quatuor cornua sunt quatuor mundi partes. 2. From their power and strength : the horn is a word that in scripture phrase doth note strength : " He hath raised up a horn of salvation for us,” Luke i. 69; that is, strong and powerful salvation. 3. From their mischievous and malignant practice: “ They scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”
In the second vision you have the description of those special instruments that are raised up for their destruction, under the similitude of four carpenters, or four smiths; who are here described, 1. From their number: four. And, 2. From their work, which is to scatter the horns, and to cast out the gentiles.
Then cometh in the third vision, the endeavours for reformation, under the similitude of “a man with a measuring line in his hand;" which is described two ways: 1. From the instrument thereof, a man, or, as in the Hebrew, w'N, an ex
cellent man, explained to be Zerubbabel their governor, chap. iv. 10.
2. From the exactness thereof; he doth work by line: “ I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand.”
Give me leave to open the words and draw out some short observations
them before I come to the main truths. “ Then lift I up mine eyes and saw,” verse 18. That is, I stirred and roused up myself with all intenseness to receive this vision. Heavenly revelations are not to be obtained in a drowsy and sleepy way.
“ And behold four horns.” That is, enemies from all parts of the world, and especially those four monarchies who have all in their course and turn been vexatious to the people of God. It is no new thing for the saints and churches to be pushed, gored, scattered by cruel and beastly enemies. Yea the churches may be so afflicted with enemies, that a man shall not know whither to fly for safety, for in every part of the world there shall be some opposers: “ I saw four horns," misery and calamity and persecution arising out of every part.
“ And I said to the angel that talked with me," &c., verse 19. This angel by interpreters is said to be Christ himself, the angel of the covenant, who is the best interpreter of heavenly visions and of hard scriptures. When we understand them not, we should search, make inquiry, and go to Christ, saying, as Zechariah here, “What are these, Lord ?”
And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” The enemies of the churches are not said here to have wounded or killed Judah, Israel, or Jerusalem, but 171 ventilarunt, they have tossed them up as it were into the air; they have scattered, saith the English. It is the proper work of the enemies of the churches to scatter God's people. The disciples of Christ are commanded to be without horns; “ Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves;" the word in the Greek is, akegalot, without horns as doves; but here the enemies are said to scatter Judah, Israel and Jerusalem; that is their work and property.
“ And the Lord shewed me four carpenters,” verse 20. The word is own,* that is, such agents and instruments as do work with art, counsel and deliberation. Though the ene
mies of the churches be unreasonable and cruel as horned beasts, yet the instruments that God raiseth up to suppress them are full of humanity, wisdom and counsel; and they are four, too, a proportionable strength.
“ Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are come to fray them away, and to cast out the horns of the gentiles." verse 21. Look how they dealt by God's people, so God will deal by them; they scattered Israel, and the God of Israel will raise up instruments that shall scatter them; they cast out God's people, and they shall be cast out. Scattering enemies shall be scattered themselves at last.
“ I lift up mine eyes again.” chap. ii. 1. Here is another vision brought to the same purpose, in general, to uphold and comfort the distressed servants of God. When the condition of the saints is low and their fears great, there is need of repeating comforts; then visions, promises and consolations must be oft repeated, “ I lift up mine eyes again."
“ And I looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand;" that is for to build exactly. Verse 2., tells us it was for to measure Jerusalem, which cannot barely be understood literally, for chap. i. 16., it is said, “ I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies, saith the Lord, my house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem,” &c. which promise in its latitude was never yet fulfilled literally, but it is to be understood of the new Jerusalem especially, mentioned in Rev. xxi. Where we find a man also at this measuring work. So that we may yet say, though the afflictions of the churches be very great, and their desolations many, yet if a man will lift
and stir up himself, he may and shall behold, “a man with a measuring line in his hand.” And thus you see that there is hardly a word of these three visions, but affordeth some special instruction. But because I have not time for all, I shall especially close with those three doctrines, that are especially held in these three visions. Thus,
1. In that here are four horns that appear, you may observe this, That when God intendeth any good and salvation to his churches, he doth first suffer many potent, malicious enemies to rise against them,
2. In that these four carpenters do appear immediately after