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minimo, less than the least. I know nothing less than the least, but nothing.
It destroys the gospel, setting up a covenant of works. The comfort and sweetness of the gospel hangs on the priestly office of Christ, which consists in his satisfaction for sin and intercession. This religion tells us of other satisfactions than that of Christ, and other mediators and intercessors, as saints and angels.
It destroys your faith; for it holds doubtings, and that a man cannot be ordinarily assured of his salvation.*
It destroys your repentance, by extenuation of sin, the great sin of our nature, and giving a babel penance for true repentance.t
It destroys your obedience by the ingrediency of merits.
It destroys the whole law of God and Scripture, by making it a nose of wax, and insufficient rule for us to live by, without their own traditions. I
It destroys the laws of man too; for what is the law of England, but the parliament? The law is a dead parliament, and the parliament is a living law. You have now time to dispute your liberty of subjects, privilege of parliament, and royal prerogative; but had this design taken, in what woful confusion had all been wrapt up together!
It may be you say, So they are now.
But, unthankful heart, it had been worse then, infinitely worse then. Then might the poor countryman have come up and seen an heap of blood, flesh, and stones together; and after long scraping in that heap, possibly might have found the head of their knight and burgess, saying, Here is the head of our dear knight and burgess, but where are his arms, where his legs?
Then might the wife and children have done the like, and said, Here, oh, here is my husband's head, but where is his body; my father's head, but where is his body? Then might you have heard, not Rachel mourning for her children, but all the children of this land mourning for their fathers, and not comforted, because they were not. You will mourn, and lament, and weep sometime, at the execution of a malefactor, and say, What pity is it, that such a man as this should die; though he were thus and thus faulty in this matter, yet otherwise a valiant man, a wise man, a brave man : what pity is it that his head should thus be stricken off at one blow! But here the head of England should have been stricken off at one blow, and not a malefactor executed, but our judges themselves, under the stroke of injustice, tumbling in their gore. Oh, unparalleled cruelty! I know nothing beyond it, but hell itself. Speak, () sun, whether in all thy travels from one end of the heavens to the other, thou hast ever beheld such a practice as this? Yet this design, this black, cruel, hellish design hath this jesuitical religion brought forth, as it is this day.
* Concil. Trident. Sess. 6, c. 9, 12.
+ Quicunque peccatum originis extenuant, doctrinam de pænitentia depravant. -Gerard.
# Vide Gerardi Disputation. Theolog. I. 2, ubi de hisce omnibus agitur fusius.
But I say no more; ye know what the northern gentleman said : I cannot dispute, but I have two arguments against the papists that can never be answered, equivocation and the powder treason: and this may all you say that cannot dispute. Who would not prejudice his own heart, his children's, his servants' hearts against this religion? Oh, for ever take heed of tampering with this religion.
I fear the hand of the Jesuit is too much among us at this day; but, О England, O parliament, for ever remember the fifth of November: “ The snare is broken, and we are delivered.”
And so I come to the next duty, which upon the account of God's gracious and powerful deliverance, we are to return unto God; namely, “ To praise him, and speak well of his name."
“ The Lord hath saved us, and made his mighty power known in the midst of us: oh be thankful unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.” We read in Psalm cxxvi., that when the Lord turned the captivity of Zion, it is said, the church “ was like unto those that are restored to health.” The words run thus : “ When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like unto them that dream.” But the words should rather be translated, “ We are like unto those that are restored to health.” The Hebrew word signifies,* to recover, or, to be restored to
* obno incolumis, sanus, sanatus, reviluit, convaluit, sic Ps. cxxvi., fuimus Dipbro sicut convalescentes, Targum : sicut ægroti, qui sanati sunt, ut captivi. VOL. IV.
health. And so the same word is translated in Isa. xxxviii., when Hezekiah recovered, he made a psalm of praise, and said, “ O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live." It is the same word that is used here. Thus Cajetan, Shindler, and others would have it translated here; and it suits best with the following words, “Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with praise." When a man is in a good dream, his mouth is not filled with laughter, nor his tongue with praise ; if a man be in a bad dream, his mouth is not filled with laughter, nor his tongue with praise : but when a man is restored to health after a great sickness, it is so. And therefore, says the psalmist, “ When the Lord turned our captivity," &c. Now if you look into Scripture, you will find, that the word captivity is used for any violence that is done by others upon God's people. So it is said of Job when he prayed for his friends. He was never from his own house in all his affliction, how then in captivity? he was under violence, for the present put into the hands of Satan, and so in captivity. When God's people are under violence, then in scripture phrase they are said to be in captivity. Ye have also been under the violence of men: in queen Mary's days, under the violence of papists; in later days, under the violence of prelates; and now of late, the parliament under the violence of the rout; and the godly of the city under violence too. But the Lord having freed you from this violence, he hath turned your captivity, even as the waters of the south : and therefore, why should not all we be as those that are restored to health again? When a man is restored to health, then he praises the Lord, and rejoices in all his goodnesses : yea, he will praise the Lord for less strength and health than before, for that which he did not praise God before.
Wherefore now then, though we do not keep this day as an holy-day, “ Let our mouths be filled with laughter, and our tongues with praises. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. He hath scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts : for his mercy endures for ever.” He hath saved us with a notwithstanding : for his mercy
tas morbo et sanationi liberatio comparetur. Sept. wç traçarekinuevor sicut consolati. Alii sicut somniantes, ex significatione secunda, Shind. p. 582, fuimus sicut convalescentes, veram esse hanc prophetiam res postea gesta testatur, quoniam similes ex agritudine convalescentibus fuerunt redeuntes ex captivitate Babyloniæ, paulatim enim auctæ sunt vires eorum.-- Cajetan in Ps. cxxv.
endures for ever. He hath not only delivered us from one powder treason, but from many, in these late years : for his mercy endures for ever.
Oh, you right honourable, the House of Peers, “ Praise ye the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.”
And you, most honourable, the House of Commons,“ Praise ye the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever."
And let all the household of the faithful, “ Praise the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. Oh, give thanks unto the God of gods, for his mercy endures for ever.” We sinned, God saved us; we sinned greatly, he hath saved us with a great salvation, with a nevertheless : “ Nevertheless he hath saved us, for his own name's sake, that he might make his mighty power known.” Now then, let us all praise the Lord, and call
CHRIST'S COMING IS AT OUR MIDNIGHT.
PREACHED AT WESTMINSTER, BEFORE THE HONOURABLE House of
COMMONS, MAY 17, 1648,
BEING THE DAY APPOINTED FOR THANKSGIVING FOR THE GREAT
VICTORY IN WALES.
TO THE HONOURABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED
ACCORDING to your command I have presented these notes to your view, somewhat concerning the kingdom and coming of Christ ; an argument as unwelcome to some as welcome to others. Kings, princes and rulers sometimes startle at it, but they need not, for Christ means them no burt; if they will throw down their crowns at his feet, he will set their crowns on their heads and his own too. Jews feared and refused to receive Christ and his kingdom, lest they should lose their own kingdom ; and thereby they lost both their God and their kingdom, as Austin observes. But who ever lost his sceptre by submitting unto Christ's sceptre? I may say, truly, potestus Christi is rather cumulativa than privi. tiva. In helping Christ to his throne, you shall belp yourselves to your honours and greatness. I will not say that Christ hath need of you, he hath no need of us: but if that of the schools be true, namely, that one is helped by another, either by addition of new strength and virtue, or by the exercise of what was formerly given; then Jesus Christ may in some sense, and that according to scripture phrase, Judges v. 23, be said to be helped by you. Great confederacies will be raised against him when he comes to his kingdom, Psalm ii. 1, 2. But God, who sits in heaven, laughs at those combinations, verse 4, and in spite of them will set his King upon his holy hill of Zion, verse 6. And to him that overcometh will I give to sit down with me in my throne, saith our Saviour, even as I have overcome and sit with my Father in his throne, Rev. üi. 21. Wherefore, most honourable, be not overcome with evil, be not overcome with difficul. ties, with oppositions or combinations of men; but overcome evil with good, and do what in you lies to bring this blessed King Jesus unto his throne and inheri. tance that as the earth in due time shall, so England in special manner may become the kingdom of our Lord Christ, and we may all say, The Lord God omnipotent reigneth amongst us.
I could not long deliberate in so short a time what part of God's word I should preach to you, but knowing the trouble of these times, and that the more you spend your thoughts on Christ's coming and kingdom, the more your hearts will be upheld in the times of your troubles ; I chose rather to preach on this argument, which I here now present, and beseech the Lord to bless it to you, and you to this kingdom; only be strong, and be of good courage ; fear not, neither be