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an argument that God moveth us with to come in to him : Lord, we use thine own argument: Lord, arise, all things are now ready. When the wind is good, and when the servants of the ship are ready, and have got their tackling all ready, and the anchor is up, only the master is not come into the ship, they will send one to tell him, Sir, the wind is good, your servants are ready, and the ship is under sail, we pray you come away; so tell the Lord that all his people are up at prayer expecting him, and all the prayers of God's people are spread, and their hearts under sail, and nothing can be done till the Master come, until God himself come; come, therefore, O Lord, come away: “ Arise, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.”
A SERMON UNTO THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE CITY OF NORWICH, AND ALSO TO
THE VOLUNTEERS OF GREAT YARMOUTH, IN NORFOLK. “ My heart is towards the governors of Israel that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the Lord.”—Judges v. 9.
PREACHED A.D. 1642.
“ 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.”-2 Sam. x, 12.
“ Be of good
In these words are the speech of that brave commander Joab, which he made at the head of his army, being surrounded with many enemies, as you read verse 9. He divides his army into two parts, the one led up by Abishai his brother, the rest of the forces he brings up himself, and spake thus to Abishai and to the rest of his men: courage, and let us play the men,” &c.
In those words you have these two parts: the braveness of his resolution : “ Be of good courage and let us play the men." The humbleness of his submission : “And the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” Or, if you will, thus : an exhortation to true noble valour in the former part, “ Be of good courage," &c.; and, secondly, an humble resignation of himself and cause and success into the hands of God; " And the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” hortation is strengthened with divers arguments : “ It is for our people.” The Ammonites and Syrians are now about us, if you do not behave yourselves valiantly your people are pillaged, plundered, captived, murthered; and therefore “ be of
courage, and let us play the men.” And for the cities of our God. Some think that by “ the city of our God,” is meant that city where the tabernacle was: but as Abulensis observes,* though in i Chron. xix. 13, it is read city, in this
* Omnes urbes Israel vocantur urbes Dei; quia Deus illas dederat Israelitis vel illa erat specialiter terra Dei.--Abulens, in ļ Chron. xix,
place it is read in the plural number, cities; and, as he saith, all their cities were the cities of God, because given by God, and because God in his worship and true religion was in their cities; and therefore, now, Joab seeing all the people were in danger, and the cities of God, the religion and worship of God, he breaks forth into this exhortation, “ Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God.”
I shall not at this time reach the second part; the humbleness of his submission and gracious resignation : only from his exhortation observe thus much :
In times of great danger, when religion is in hazard and the people of God are in danger, good courage is very requisite.
It is then good for good people to have good courage when the times are evil. This is that which Joab pitcheth upon, and is the only matter of his exhortation : “Be of good courage, and let us play the men.” So David, when he was begirt and berounded with many enemies, “ Wait on the Lord (saith he) and be of good courage.” Some there are that do wait on the Lord but are not of good courage; some have good courage, or courage, but do not wait on the Lord. “ Wait on the Lord, be of good courage," Psalm xxvii. 14; both together; "and he shall strengthen thine heart,” Psalm xxxi. 24. Good courage, then, is very requisite in evil times, Some think this belongs only to soldiers; but if you look into Haggai ii. 4, you shall find this commanded to all the people : “ Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord (that is the magistrates); and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest (there is the ministers); and be strong, all ye people of the Lord (there is the people).” And that you read, be strong, in the Hebrew, is all one with the word of my text, be of good courage; and if you will, you may read the words so: “Be of good courage, O Zerubbabel," &c. So that it lies upon all, in evil times, men and women, to be of good courage. For my better prosecution of this point, I shall do these three things :
First, Give the description of good courage, shewing what it is.
Secondly, Confirm the point.
it thus: Good courage is that gracious disposition of heart whereby a man, being called by God unto any service, doth adventure upon difficulties either in doing good or enduring evil, and that without fear.
Here are four or five things considerable in this description. First, Good courage is a gracious disposition. There is a moral boldness, and a natural audacity, and this is not good courage, for the former is in heathens, and the latter is in brute beasts. Job describes the horse after this manner : " He rusheth into the battle, he laughs at the trumpet, and his neck is clothed with thunder," chap. xxxix. This brute beasts may have, and therefore this is not the virtue I press upon you.
Again, There is a sinful desperateness whereby men are apt and ready to rush upon all that is evil, and are sinfully bold, and they think him a fool or a child that will not drink, and be drunk, and whore, and run into all kind of evil : this is not good courage. David, he was as valiant as any one of them, as ever the earth bare, and yet, notwithstanding, in the matter of sin he was very timorous.* Surely good courage is such a flower as grows upon a good conscience: a man, in truth, hath so much good courage as he hath a good conscience; and it that a man shall desperately run upon what is evil and sinful, his courage does degenerate into a foolish desperateness. “Wait on the Lord (saith the psalmist) and be of good courage; and again, I say, wait on the Lord.” Good courage is hemmed in with waiting upon the Lord.
Again, There is a vaunting, bragging, boasting cavalierism which hath no true courage. Such a cavalier was Rabshakah, who said, “ With us is valour and courage;" when he defied the hosts and servants of the living God. Good courage is the health of the mind; this vaunting, bragging, boasting is the swelling of the mind, not courage.
Again, There is a fierce, angry, revengeful disposition,
* Fortitudo justorum est carnem vincere, propiis voluptatibus contraire delectationem vitiæ præsentis extinguere, hujusmodi aspera pro æternis præmiis amare, prosperitatis blandimenta contemnere, adversitatis malum in corde superare; reproborum vero fortitudo est transitoria sine cessatione diligere, contra flagella conditionis insensibiliter perdurare, bonorum vitam non solum verbis et moribus, sed etiam gladiis impugnare, in semetipsis spem ponere et iniquitatem quotidie sine ullo desiderii defectu perpetrare.Greg. Moral. lib. 3. + Tumor animi non est magnanimitas.— Seneca.
whereby men are ready to run upon cruelties: this is no good courage. “The righteous is as bold as a lion.” The lion himself is merciful, not revengeful; if a creature lies down before him he will spare it.* I remember a story one hath concerning Malcolm, a king of the Scots. It seems there was one of his nobles who underhand conspired his death. The king having notice of it, he chose a day to go a hunting, and called many of his nobles to go with him, and amongst the rest he calls this courtier that was working of his death; and when they were in the field, he singles him from all the rest, bids them go on with their game, he had something to speak to him alone : saith he, I hear you are, underhand, working of my death: if you put poison into my cup, a woman may
do that; if you set upon me with a company of rascals, thieves may do that; if you will put me to death, do it as a soldier, I will take my sword, take you your's, we will fight it out. The man fell down before him, and the king pardoned him, and gained him ever after to be his own.t This was true courage, but a fiery, cruel disposition is no good courage; courage is a gracious disposition.
It is a gracious disposition of heart. The heart, properly, is the natural element of courage, and therefore some do derive the word courage, so; courage, quasi cor agit, it is an action or motion of the heart. The truth is, the heart of man is the artillery yard where all the thoughts of courage train continually.
Again, I say, whereby a man being called by God unto any service. God's call is the ground of a christian's courage. This was pretended in Rabshakah's speech; “ Hath not the Lord sent me?" And this was, in truth, the ground of Joshua's courage: “ Be of good courage, have not I com
* Leonum clementiæ multa indicia sunt, prostratis pareunt, in virus potius quam in fæminas sæviunt, infantes non nisi in magna fame perimunt.—Solinus.
+ Si igitur animus tibi sit, si valeas, si audeas, absolve quod propofuisti, redde hostibus meis et sociis fuis quod promisisti : si me occidere stat animus, quando rectius, quando secretius, quando virilius ? venenum parasti ? mulierculis id relinquito, tortulo insidiaris? hoc et adulteræ possunt? ferro ex insidiis me aggredi decrevisti ? hoc sicarii et non militis est officium, solus cum solo congredere, ut saltem prodito tua turpitudine careat, quæ per fidia carere non potest. Miles autem bæc audiens mox verbis regis quasi gravi per cussus fulmine ad pedes regios cum lachrymis et tremore cucurrit: cui rex noli timere (inquit) quod nihil a me patieris ; cumque ei de cætero se fidelem amicum futurum pro sisisset, revertunter ad socios, hihil pænitus referentes.—Mat. Paris, p. 21, Hist. Willil. 21.