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I will send one volunteer. What were it for such a town as this to have two or three hundred ? But I know your readiness, the Lord bless it. Only I leave the exhortation of Joab with you, the words a little altered, Be of good courage, and if you cannot play the men yourselves, let your children and servants play the men.
The exhortation looks also upon them that have listed themselves in this service of God and their country in these dangerous times. Brethren, I have need for to speak to you, and my commission especially is to speak to you, I had need do it, for have not some freely offered themselves to this work, yet shamefully deserted it again? I say shamefully, for what greater shame?
Marcus Crassus, amongst the Romans, caused the cowards to be let blood, giving this reason, That it was fit their blood should be shed in disgrace which they would not shed in the defence of their country. And if you look at Judges vii. 3, you shall find that when the hosts of the Midianites came against the Israelites, Gideon had gotten a good and well framed army together; but when word came from the Lord that the fearful should return, how many, think you, did return of them ? Surely no less than two parts of three. The whole army consisting of thirty and two thousand. The divine story tells us that twenty-two thousand of them went back, and but ten thousand left. Twenty and two thousand not ashamed to be called cowards and fearful. So that I say, that I had need to speak to you, and to you is my commission, and if you please you may read my commission and your own duty together : Deut. xx. 2, 3, “ And it shall be when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people;” not the captain, but the priest. What says the priest? Let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be you terrified because of them. Therefore you see what I am commanded to speak unto you. Well, good sirs, and beloved in the Lord Jesus, be you also of good courage. And I have three words of encouragement to speak unto you.
1. Your work and service you are about, it is very honourable. It is observed to my hand, that when Solomon built the temple, he did not employ the Israelites about the meaner works, carrying of stones and drawing of water ; strangers were put to that work; but the Israelites were employed to
be a guard about him. So did the most wise man in the world, Solomon, count it an honourable thing to bear arms and to be a soldier. Anciently soldiers were called latrones, because they were a latere regis; and now the latin word, miles, for a soldier, signifies a knight. When the children of Israel went out to battle, some there were that went into the field, and some that did stay at home; concerning those that stayed at home, it is said, that "she that tarried at home divided the spoil,” Psalm lxviii. 12. As if they were only women, and the weaker sort that stayed at home; as if all that were worthy to be called men went into the field. In the triumphing psalm of Deborah, we read that some are condemned and some commended; those that were condemned, were such as came not forth, that came not forth to “help the Lord against the mighty,” Judges v. 23. Those that were commended, were the volunteers that offered themselves willingly amongst the people (verses 2. 9). The truth is, that the volunteers of England, under God, are the bulwarks of England; and England, under God, the bulwark of the protestant religion. Wherefore, honoured brethren, be ye all of good courage, for your work and service is very honourable.
And as your work is honourable, so your work is safe. In times of war, the safest place is the camp, and whilst that those of poor spirits, that love only to be in their beds and in their houses, shall be pillaged and plundered, men of brave spirits, that are willing to be in the field, shall be secured. A valiant and courageous mind commandeth all things, says Seneca : he that commandeth death, commandeth all things, as the valiant man doth. Now, beloved, you see into what times we are fallen; of necessity things must either go well or ill : if things go ill, the worst is death, and what great matter is it to die for your God a little before your time; who would live when religion is dead? who would live to out-live his religion? Cicero tells us of some Indians that having many wives, when the husband died the wives strived to be burned with him, and she that was the strongest prevailed to be burned, and the rest went away very sorrowful, as having met with a great loss that they might not be burned with their husband; and do you desire to live a day after the protestant religion that you have been married to now for many years together? It is no great matter to live; the beasts, birds and
fishes live: this is truly great, to die well, honourably, freely, wisely; as Seneca saith, It is better to die in the field, for the cause of God, than die in one's bed by the hand of a sickness. It is storied of one Bibulus, a great Roman, that having obtained many victories, he came to Rome to ride in triumph, where a tile falling off the house struck him so deeply and mortally into the head, that he died of it. Thus may you die by an unworthy tile as you walk in the streets, or by the turning of some humour in your bodies; and is it not better, then, to die for the truth? Can you lose too much for Christ that hath lost so much for you? Death is the worst. And if things go well, I cannot but think it will go with the popish malignant party, as once with the Freislanders, when the Earl of Holland had overcome them; they took up arms to resist him again : whereupon he ordered that the doors of their houses should be made so low as they should always stoop when they went in, noting their subjection ;* so, though the mercy of those that are in authority may let the houses of malignants stand, yet I make no question, but the doors of their houses shall be made so low, that they shall always stoop, as a note of their subjection; whilst you that stand for the cause, and country, and cities of your God, shall have the doors of your houses enlarged; and if a good cause have any interest in heaven, and the prayers of God's people hath any credit there, you shall undoubtedly in the end prevail, wherefore be of good courage, for your work is safe.
And as your work is safe, so it is also warrantable. I know it is objected, They take up arms against their king. I am persuaded there is not such a thought in the bosoms of any of you all, and God forbid there should. But there is much difference between taking up of arms against the king's person, and taking up of arms for the defence of the kingdom, without the king's command. David, though he were God's anointed, yet he was a subject unto Saul his king, and he took up arms to defend himself; he took up arms indeed, but if you look into 1 Sam. xxvi. 19, you shall find that David does impute that unnatural war that Saul his king made against him, to those wicked malignants and wicked counsellors about him. 66 If the Lord hath stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering ; but if they be the
* Hist. Nether.
children of men, cursed be they before the Lord,” &c. He does not say the king had done it, but lays it upon those that were about him, and therefore took up arms to defend himself against the malignants. David's example is our practice: and certainly if the parliament should not have a power to send for those by force of arms which are accused before them for their just trial, they should no longer be a parliament. Every court of justice hath a power to send for by force, men accused to be tried before them: now the parliament as king James speaks, is the highest court of justice; therefore, according to the known privilege of parliament, they do send a serjeant at arms for those that are accused, to be tried before them; and if they have power to send out one serjeant at arms, then they have power also to send forth a hundred, and so a thousand, and so ten thousand if need require. And if the accused persons gather into an army, how can the parliament send for them but by an army? So that when you consider the law of the land, or the law of God, or the law of nature, which is for a community to defend itself, your way and course is very warrantable, your cause is good, for that must needs be good that religion maketh so; your enemies are weak, for they must needs be weak that sin makes weak; your victory is certain, which the Scripture promiseth, and first or last the victory shall
Put all together : your cause is good, your enemies weak, your victory certain, your service honourable, safe, warrantable: wherefore, “ Be of good courage, and play the men for the people and the cities of our God, and the Lord do with you what seemeth him good."
This exhortation looketh upon all that heareth me this day, men, women and children; be you all of good courage in these sad times, notwithstanding the evil of the times; “Tear not, neither be dismayed." Did the Lord do his work by halves when he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt? Notwithstanding for men's unbelief some fell in the way to Canaan, yet he brought them into Canaan. Beloved, you are now again coming out of Egypt, for the Romish superstition, and that partly is called Egypt, Sodom, Babylon : you are now coming out of Egypt, marching up into the promised land and promised ordinances. Nothing can make you fall in the way but unbelief; wherefore be all of good courage, and
be to you.
pray unto the Lord. Be all of good courage ; thereby you shall be able to set upon great things for God, though never so great ; thereby you shall endure great afflictions, though never so heavy; thereby you shall be untired and unwearied in the service of God, though the opposition be never so strong; thereby you shall honour the cause; thereby you shall conquer your enemies; thereby you shall encourage others, your courage shall beget courage; your courage will have an influence
all the towns round about you, and make them of good courage, as I make no question but the courage
and valour of London have had an influence upon your hearts, to make you courageous : so your courage will have upon others. What will they say when they come into towns, and return home again? I will tell you what : I was at such a town, and there they were working and fortifying their town for their country and king; and I saw the best man's son in the town go to the work, and the best man's daughter in the town carry a basket; and, father and mother, shall we sit still? Therefore put on, let the work never die for want of money ; let not such a town as we are be base, be poor and want courage, when on the
have the sea, on the other side the river, on the other side the walls, on the other side, I hope, friends; within abundance of good people, and and above a loving God. Oh, therefore, put on, be all of good courage. I do but add some directions, and so wind up all,
1. Be sure of this, that you make sure of God to be with you.
I mean, not only in the general causes, but in your particular; clear up your propriety to God himself. When David was in a great strait, his enemies had broken in upon him, taken away his wives, and then plundered all he had, his own soldiers began to mutiny, and thought of stoning him; what did he do? It is said, “ He encouraged himself in the Lord his God," i Sam, xxx. 6. Therefore first make sure of this, clear up this your propriety in God himself. The sight of a great God under interest will encourage your spirits though dangers be never so great.
2. Never go out upon any design without God's promise, God's promise of assistance, acceptance and success. Joshua was a valiant man and brave commander, and yet we read of him, chap. vii., when some thirty men were slain, and others