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SERMON XVI.

ENGLAND SAVED WITH A NOTWITHSTANDING.

REPRESENTED TO THE HONOURABLE House of Commons, Nov. 5, 1647, THE DAY OF THANKSGIVING FOR DELIVERANCE FROM THE

POWDER-PLOT.

To The HonourABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT.

16 He

In what frosts and snows your hand hath cleaved to your plough, is not unknown to this kingdom ; unthankfulness may say you have done little for us, but the truth cannot. Magistratus labor major rusticano,” Luther. “ Gubernatio est divina quædam vertus, ideoque vocat Deus magistratus omnes, Deos, non propter creationem, sed propter administrationem, quæ solius Dei est, qui igitur in regimine est, est quasi Deus incarnatus,” Luther in Gen. The Lord hath said ye are gods. Still therefore be pleased to act unweariedly and unchangeably. God doth save us with a notwithstanding our reluctancy, so should the magistrate. God is a Father of the fatherless, and an help to the oppressed ; gathereth the outcasts, careth for those whom none careth for, and doth sometimes carve for them first who do sit lowest. So should magistrates be and do ; and therefore the Lord, having said concerning magistrates that they are gods, Ps. lxxxii. 1, he addeth in ver. 3, 4, “ Deliver ye the poor and needy,” &c. The magistrate should not always stay until the crying complaints of the poor be brought to him, but should sometimes seek and inquire after them. The cry of the afflicted belongs to the magistrate, though they cry not to him. Musculus therefore observes well, that the psalmist doth not say of the magistrate, shall deliver the poor and needy " when he crieth unto him, but, “ when he crieth,” Ps. lxxii. 12. “ Clamor afflictorum pertinet ad eos, qui in magistratu sunt etiam ad ipsos non clametur ; nam non dicit, liberabit egenum ad se clamantem, sed clamentem et afflictum cui non est adjutor, hoc est, cui nihil est in rebus afflictis patrocinii,” Musculus in Psal. God is a God of love, mercy and grace; he is called love itself, not justice, though he be so, but God is love : so should the magistrate be, full of love, bowels, and tender compassions unto the people; therefore he is called, father, tender father, and Nasi, not only because he is lifted up above the people, but because he doth lift up, or ease their burthen, and doth potare populum in gremio suo. “ bene suis aut benevolus dictus, 7728 Gen. xli., aliqui ducunt a 37a benedixit, genua flexit, clamabant enim autem cum, genua flecte: sic Aben Ezra : alii dividunt verbum in 2x et 97 R. Solomon quod 7 in lingua Aramæa est rex nam Joseph fuit pater regis : sed vox Ebraica 97 significat tener, mollis, quia princeps tener et mollis pater est, Mayer. philolog. Saer. par. prima p. 116. \'w) a 403 levavit, clevavit, sublevavit, portavit.” Now, most worthy patriots, ye have conquered this kingdom with your sword, conquer us once more with your love, in providing for the poor, desolate, and in healing our sad divisions with a fatherly hand, and you are complete saviours and fathers to this bleeding kingdom. “ Pacem nos poscimus,” but not such a peace, as Augustine speaks, . ut inimici

velle quasi volens אבה ab אב *

submittant, sed ut amici jungant.” I had thought to have been, date veniam verbo, disobedient to your command of printing this sermon, but being persuaded that it may in some measure conduce unto love both towards God and man, I chose rather to disobey mine own inclinations than your order. Now the Lord himself make you the repairers of our breaches, and the restorers of paths to dwell in : which is and must be the prayer of Your servant in the gospel of Christ,

WILLIAM BRIDGE.

Nevertheless, he saved them for his name's sake : that he might make his mighty power to be known.”—Psalm CVI. 8.

This psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving, as the first and last verses declare. Now because a man is most fit to praise God, when he is most sensible of his own sin and unworthiness; the psalmist doth throughout this psalm, lay Israel's sin and God's mercy together. Ver. 7, “Our fathers (says he) understood not the wonders in Egypt.”

They saw them with their eyes, but they did not understand them with their heart; they did not apprehend the design and scope and end of God in those wonders : and therefore, “they remembered not (says the text) thy mercies;" for a man remembers no more than he understands.

But it may be these mercies were very few, and so their sin in forgetfulness the less ?

Nay, not so, for verse 7, “ They remembered not the multitude of thy mercies."

But it may be this was their infirmity or weakness, and so they were the rather to be borne withal?

Not so, “but they rebelled against him ;" so Montanus reads it better.*

But it may be this sin was committed whilst they were in Egypt, among the Egyptians, being put on by them?

Not so neither, but when they were come out of Egypt, and only had to deal with God, and saw his glorious power at the Red Sea, then they rebelled against him, “ At the sea, even at the Red Sea."

What then, did not the Lord destroy them?

198'i sed rebellaverunt a 079: non dicit, et obedientes, vel hæsitantes aut tergiversantes, sed rebelles fuerunt; rebellio est qua per contumaciam et contumeliam adversatur subditus majori sur ; sic Israelitæ non simpliciter detrectabant obsequi, sed addebant murmura, obloquia, contumelias adversus Deum et Moysen.-Musculus in Psal.

No, says the text, “ Notwithstanding ” all their ignorance, unthankfulness, and their rebellion," he saved them for his name's sake.

“ He saved them ;" that is, with an outward salvation.

“For his name's sake;" the name of God is that whereby he is made known unto us. God's working for his name's sake, is still set in opposition to our deservings.

God doth sometimes work for his name's sake, that it may not be defiled and polluted by men. Sometimes, that the glory and honour of his name may shine out the more. In both these respects the words are to be understood, but especially they are meant in the latter; and so they are explained in Isa. Ixiii. 12. And to this purpose the following words, “ That he might make his mighty power known.” The word in the Hebrew is, To make known his mighty power.*

Much of God's power is to be read and known in all his creatures; but in this their deliverance at the Red Sea, there were the special prints of his fingers, the characters and marks of his infinite power and deity, whereby he might be plainly and clearly known. And that this name and power of his might be thus known, he did save them with a notwithstanding all their former sins. Whence observe two things :

First, Though the sin of a people be exceeding great, and very heinous, yet God will and doth sometimes save them for his own name's sake. He doth sometimes save his people with a notwithstanding: notwithstanding all their sin and guilt.

Secondly, When God doth thus save his people with a notwithstanding, he doth then leave such marks and characters of his mighty power upon their salvation, that he may be clearly and fully known and manifested to the sons of men.

First, God doth sometimes save his people, with a notwithstanding all their sin and all their unworthiness.

For God is gracious to a people, as well as to a person. The blood of Jesus Christ is sprinkled on nations, as well as particular persons. Now for a particular person; ye read in 1 Tim. i. 15, how the Lord dealt with Paul: saith Paul himself, “ I was a blasphemer, injurious, persecutor; never

* poons ad notificandum fortitundinem suam.-Ar. Montanus.

theless I obtained mercy, although I did it ignorantly through unbelief,” or, Notwithstanding I did it ignorantly &c. Ye read the words ordinarily thus, For I did it ignorantly ; as if ignorance were the reason of his conversion, by way of excuse: but the Greek or which you translate for, may be read, although. As in Luke xxiii. 40, “Fearest thou not God," saith the thief on the cross to his fellow, “seeing, (or although) thou art in the same condemnation ? "* So Acts i. 17, “Who," speaking of Judas, “ was guide to them that took Jesus, although he was numbered with us:" ye read it ordinarily for, but it should he rather rendered although, for it is the same

Neither can it be truly translated for, by way of extenuation, it being an aggravation rather : for sins of ignorance are of two sorts : either such as are simple ignorance; or of prave disposition. Simple ignorance doth excuse; but ignorance of prave, or ill disposition doth aggravate. Such was Paul's ignorance :t for, says he, I did it ignorantly

OTI.

* Oro sy TW AUTW Kgquatl et, Luke xxiii. 40. Οτι κατηριθμημενος ην ovv nuov, Acts i. 17. Vulg. annumerabatur enim nobiscum, quasi esset ratio cur iste se ducem proebuerit illis qui Christum capiebant, cum contrarium velit apostolus, hoc modo, ille Judas a diabolo et carne sua seductus eo pervenit dementiæ, ut suum dominum turpiter prodiderit, quamvis cum aliis maximis ab eo sit affectus beneficiis, tum vel hoc inprimis ornatus, quod in numerum et collegium apostolerum erat cooptatus.—Tarnov. exercit. bibl. 188, 189.

+ Paulus cum verbum de Christo prædicato audiret, nolebat credere, sed repugnabat, ut alii pharisæi, licet hic eis fervidius, fecit enim ea quæ sunt infidelitatis ; hoc est, non tantum habuerit fidei vacuitatem, sed etiam malorum operum plenitudinem : qno spectat quod vox ATTLÓTLAS sæpe includat Cetteldetavimo repugnantiam. Ignorantia facti et circumstantiæ excusat, in tantum, non in totum, sed Paulus peccavit ex ignorantia juris, quæ non excusat. Nam Paulus se vocat peccatorem primum seu præcipuum, et misericordiam Dei prædicat, quæ, quo peccatum majus, eo et ipsa major. quamvis igitur Paulus pharisæus, cum scire omnino posset et deberet, Jerosolymis vivens, Christi doctrinam esse divinam, quippe tot miraculis, confirmatam, ipsumque esse mundi salvatorem in V. Test. promissam, tamen oculos ad tantam lucem claudens, volens illam ignorabit quam habere poterat, si non restitisset præfracte ; et jam id admirans dicebat, gratiam nihilominus sibi esse factam, quantumvis ignoran fecerit illa sua incredulitate, Idem 1106, 1107, &c. quomodo igitur per ott vel quia, ignorantia potest constitui causæ ? quum extraordinaria præter Dei volun. tatem nullam habeant, saltem quod nos sciamus, causam. Paulus enim hic constituitur #gos UTOIUT WOLV omnium qui sunt credituri, confer, v. 15, 16. Et hic versu 16 est causa cur deus Paulus converterit dia Touro si enim oto vertis causaliter, tum ignorantia et incredulitas erunt causo remissionis peccatorum, et proinde omnis qui peccat ex incredulitate et ignorantia, ut Judæi, Act. xxxvii. 13, 27; 1 Cor. ii. 6, gratiam consequitur, quod tamen falsum est, Idem, exercit. bibl. page 193, 189.

in unbelief. He doth not barely say, I did it ignorantly; but ignorantly in unbelief: which is the worst disposition, and that doth aggravate.

Besides, ignorance is either such as is invincible, and cannot be helped; or such as is wilful and may be helped : such was Paul's ignorance, for he stood by, and held the clothes of those that stoned Stephen. There was enough done and said before him to convince him of Christ, and therefore his ignorance was rather aggravating.

Yea, and as Tarnovius doth well observe, Paul in this Scripture doth not go about to extenuate, but aggravate his sin. Witness the precedent, and following words : in the precedent words, says he, “I was a blasphemer," and "a persecutor,” and “injurious.” In the following words, “ whereof I am chief,&c.

Besides, the conversion of Paul was miraculous, and not to be laid on the ordinary cause of ignorance: and if he were therefore converted because ignorant, then all that are ignorant should be converted; but not so, we see the contrary. The words therefore, are not to be read with for, but with an although, or with a notwithstanding, thus : I was a blasphemer, injurious, persecutor, nevertheless I obtained mercy, although I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

And will the Lord save a particular person with a notwithstanding, and will he not save a people, his people with a notwithstanding all their guilt and sin?

God keeps the same method in giving out the benefits that do come by Christ, as in giving out of Christ himself. Now for Christ himself: the first promise that was given of him, was given with a notwithstanding, Notwithstanding the great sin that Adam and Eve committed in the fall, yet, says the Lord, “The seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head.”

Thus in the types of Christ; there were three great types of him in the wilderness: the manna, the brazen serpent, and the rock: but though all these were types, yet the rock especially: and therefore in 1 Cor. x. 4, says the apostle, And that rock was Christ.” He had said before, they did all eat the same spiritual meat; yet he doth not say, And that meat was Christ, or that manna was Christ: but having said, They all drank of the same spiritual rock, he addeth,

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