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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

tas morbo et sanationi liberatio comparetur. Sept. ws nagarekinjevou 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.

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 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 upon his name.

SERMON XVII.

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

AT WESTMINSTER.

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 seme as welcome to others. Kings, princes and rulers sometimes startle at it, but they need not, for Christ means them no hurt ; if they will throw down their crowns at his feet, he will set their crowns on their heads and his own too. The 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 privitiva. 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 bis 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. iii. 21. Wherefore, most honourable, be not overcome with evil, be not overcome with difficulties, 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

dismayed; and the Lord your God will be with you as he hath been formerly, which shall be the prayer of, Your humble servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ,

WILLIAM BRIDGE.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh.—Matt, xxv, 6.

In this parable ye have the state and posture of the church a little before and at the coming of Jesus Christ.

66 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins," verse l. Sometimes the doctrine and grace of the gospel is called the kingdom of heaven; “ The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,” &c. This cannot be meant here : because in the gospel there are not ten virgins. Sometimes the state of glory above is called the kingdom of heaven: that is not meant here, because there are no foolish virgins. Sometimes the church of Christ under the new testament is called the kingdom of heaven, for there God appears, manifests himself, and it is heaven on earth; and this is that which is here called the kingdom of heaven; which kingdom is described by the Governor, King and Head thereof, and by the subjects of that kingdom. The subjects are described by their agreement and disagreement. First, They agree in this, that they are all virgins; though some foolish, yet virgins, not defiled with men or the pollutions of the world: it is possible a foolish and unsound heart may go thus far in religion, to be free from the pollutions of the world, yea, through the knowledge of Christ, says the apostle Peter. Secondly, They agree in this, that they have all their lamps, good and bad, wise and foolish, under ordinances, which are the lamps, whereby the golden oil of the sanctuary is emptied into our hearts. Thirdly, They agree in this, that they are all expectants, wise and foolish wait the Bridegroom's coming ; they all think to receive good, and have a good day by the coming of Jesus Christ: this is far, yet thus far may a foolish virgin go. Fourthly, They all agree in this, that they had oil in their lamps; indeed it is said, verse 3, that “the foolish virgins took no oil with them," but they say, verse 8, “Our lamps are gone out ;** so that oil they had once, but

* Ad nihilum valet quod non valet ad finem suum.

they had not enough, and so none; parts and gifts and common graces a man may have, not only his lamp, but some oil in it for a time, yet be a foolish virgin. Fifthly, They agree in this, that they keep company, have communion and fellowship together in the church, yea, so far that the foolish are not known till Christ's coming; so smoothly may a foolish virgin carry it, yet remain foolish. Sixthly, They all agree in this, also, that they hold out their profession with lamps, and waiting until the Bridegroom comes. So that possibly a man may be a professor of the gospel, and bear up his profession among the best, even to the last, yet be unsound at heart, and a foolish virgin. Thus far they agree.

But though these virgins agree in many things, yet they disagree in point of wisdom; for the wise got so much oil as did serve till the last, the foolish not so; there was defectus olei, verse 8.

Again, You have here the description of the King, Governor and Head of this kingdom, who is described from and by the manner of his coming. First, He comes as a Bridegroom. Secondly, He comes apparently: not as in the days of his flesh, when he came more hiddenly ; “ Behold a great cry," &c. Thirdly, He comes suddenly, unexpectedly, in the most dark time, he comes at midnight.

Now Christ's coming is either spiritual and invisible, John xiv. 18, “ I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you;” or visible; and that either at the day of judgment, or else at the calling and conversion of the Jews, when he will appear in the clouds, and come to set up his kingdom in this world in a more glorious manner than ever. So Rev. xvii., “Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him (that is the Jews); and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, Amen;" which relates unto Zech. xii. 10-14, “ I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his own son, &c. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, and the land shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the

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