« AnteriorContinuar »
Lord, we are all here before thee, do with us what is good in thine eyes, only measure us; measure my family, measure my children, measure my servants, measure myself, only let the line of reformation pass over me and mine; I am willing, Lord, help my unwillingness.
Then, again, if ever God shall please to bring you unto the haven of your desires, reformation in exactness, Christ in his own government into your congregations, be sure that you lay fast hold of him, that he may never leave you or go from you any more. When the spouse in the Canticles had lost Christ, she goes bemoaning, lamenting, crying and inquiring after him; when she had found him, she brings him into the chamber of her mother, and says, “I charge you, oh, ye daughters of Jerusalem, I charge ye by the roes and by the hinds, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please.” So do you;
if ever you light on Jesus Christ again, a settled gospel, carry him, oh, carry him into the chamber of your mother, as it were, and say unto all your friends, neighbours and congregations, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters of England, yea by the roes and hinds of the field, I charge ye, oh, ye daughters of England, that ye awake not my Beloved until he please. This do hereafter, and for the present engage yourselves thereunto.
In the mean while, that you may do and have all this, now pray, pray alone and pray in company, pray in public, pray in private. The “man with a measuring-line in his hand," says, Pray; your carpenters that are abroad in the field, say, Pray; the examples of all reformed churches, say, Pray; your parliament, say, Pray; your assembly, say, Pray; your lives, your liberties, your gospel, your all, say, Pray: oh, you that have any credit in heaven, pray now; you that never prayed before, pray now. It is but one hour and the work is done. Can ye not watch with Jesus Christ one hour? “Watch and pray.” And that I say unto one I say unto all, and unto my own soul, Let us all watch and pray
lest we enter into temptation.
THE SAINTS' HIDING-PLACE IN THE TIME OF GOD'S ANGER.
PRÉSENTED TO THE Right HONOURABLE THE HOUSE OF LORDS, IN THE ABBEY CHURCH AT WESTMINSTER, Oct. 28, 1646, THE SOLEMN
DAY OF THEIR Monthly Fast.
TO THE Right HONOURABLE THE LORDS ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT.
Right HONOURABLE,—According to your command I have published these notes, which I humbly present to your lordships. They were once in your ear, they are now in your eye, the Lord ever keep them in your hearts. They lead to hiding love in the day of God's anger, and tell your honours where his biding places are: and though it is better to have no storms than the best barbour ; yet if it shall please God that we must put to sea again, which mercy prevent, it is good to be acquainted with a good harbour. They call for righteousness. The first part of true righteousness, is to deny our own righteousness and to seek Christ's. As, “prima pars salutis est nullam videre salutem.” The second part is to acknowledge and contend for the truth, the word of righteousness. Solomon bids us " buy the truth,” but doth not tell us what it must cost, because we must get it though it be never so dear. “ Multi amant veritatem lucentem oderunt redarguentum," Aquin. ex Augustino. We should love it both shining and scorching.
And another part, is to deal justly, and to set this land free from oppressions. “ Blessed art thou land (saith Solomon), where thy king is the son of nobles," Eccles. x. 17. The Septuagint reads it, edevteqwy, the son of free-man. Righteousness doth not only strengthen, but nobilitate a nation and enrich it. When the officers are peace, and exactors are righteousness, then the gold and silver abounds. Isa. lv. 17.
The work of righteousness seems to be divine work, as authority itself is a beam of divine majesty : for as the sun is said to be God's peculiar, " He maketh bis sun to rise." &c.; and the wind is called his, " He causeth bis wind to blow," Ps. cxlvii 18; so is righteousness also in a special manner called his, “Give thy judgments unto the king, and thy righteousness unto the king's son," Ps. lxxii. 1. “ Da judicia tua et justitiam tuam, Ps. lxxii. 1, habet mundus sua judicia et suam justitiam verum ita ut quod vere justum est, magis opprimatur quam promoveatur ; ergo dicit Psal. da id est da illis hanc gratiam ut quod apud te justum est judicent. Quæ ut recto judicent principes et justitiam exerceant est donum Dei," Musculus. And if God lead your lordships into his own work, he will accompany you with his own strength. You cannot better consult honour unto your own families, and happiness unto this nation, than by causing justice and judgment to run down like mighty streams into all the countries thereof.
They call for meekness and sweetness of disposition : wbich being gained, you shall not need to leave your place if the spirit of the ruler rise up against you ; “ for yielding (saith the English, but according to the Hebrew and Montanus's translation, lenity or sweetness,) pacifieth great offences." Eccles. x. 4, HD78, sanitas autlenitas, Ar. Montan. None pretend more to good nature than our
" Vere magnum
gentry, and indeed I think it is a flower grows much in their gardens : but though divine nature will bring us to heaven, meek, good nature will not.
It is gospel love and meekness which this sermon means. The gospel works it, and it bonours the gospel, The more the gospel conquers this nation, the more love and meekness, which is so wanting, will abound. Oh, spread the gospel, and by your means let us see the angel flying in the midst of our heavens, with the everlasting gospel in his hand. Rev. xiv. 6. This is a work worthy of you. Great men should do great things, and count themselves little. est magna facere et teipsum putare nibil," Euseb. Nier.
My lords, Christ hath done much for you, you must do much for Christ. The more you have in this world, the more grace it is to be of another. For outward things, afford them some relics of your love, and so much only as better things leave; for what is too cold for God, is hot enough for these things. “ Toleremus potius præsentia quam deligamus." Why should not we give that vnto God by an act of our faith, which he hath given unto us as a fruit of his love? Thus shall you be able to say in your lying down, as Christ spake at his ceath : “ Father, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, and now glorify me with thine own self," John xvii. 4, 5. Which that your Honours may do, shall be the prayer of Your humble and most unworthy servant in the gospel of Jesus Christ,
“ Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment, seek righteousness, seek meekness : it
may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.”-Zeph. 11. 3.
God never lets off his murdering pieces upon a nation or kingdom, but he doth first discharge his warning pieces; he never strikes, but he doth threaten first. For as he doth therefore strike once, that he may not strike again; so he doth therefore threaten at the first, that he may not strike at all. He promises that he may fulfil, but he threatens that he
may not fulfil.
Having therefore denounced great judgments in the first chapter, he proceedeth by the prophet Zephaniah to soft and sweet exhortations in the beginning of this second.
And because men are either godly or ungodly, he begins with the ungodly, and exhorteth them to gather themselves, &c. ver. 1, 2. And for the godly, he exhorteth them for to seek the Lord, ver. 3,“ Seek ye the Lord,” &c.
In which words three things are most considerable :
First, The matter of the exhortation, which is, “ To seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, and to seek meekness.”
Secondly, The subject or persons upon whom this exhortation falls; that is, “ the meek of the earth,” further described to have wrought judgment.
Thirdly, The motive pressing thereunto, “ It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger."
For explication :
“ Seek ye the Lord.” That is, the Lord himself, his face, his favour, his honour. The word " seek,” is used in Scripture, either more largely, for our whole service of God and endeavours after him; or else more strictly for prayer. Here it is taken in the largest sense, because the word in the Hebrew is not sow, which signifies rather verbo quærere, Prov. xv. 14, to seek by word or petition ; but wpa, which signifies rather conatu quærere, to seek by endeavour.*
“ The meek of the earth.” The Hebrew word turned meek, signifies afflicted as well as meek, and so it is often translated, for afflictions well used are means to meeken us, and to file off the roughness and ruggedness off our disposition. But here it doth note the grace and virtue of meekness, which is irarum moderativa, that scripture grace whereby a man hath the command and moderation of his anger, leaving all his revenge unto God himself; for it is the same word that is used after for meekness, which cannot be understood of affliction, but of the grace and virtue of meekness, for that no man is to seek affliction.
“ Which have wrought his judgment.” The word own judgment is used in Scripture, either for the commandments, word and statutes of the Lord, or for that evil which God doth bring upon a people in a way of justice; in both these respects the meek may be said to work his judgments, either as obedient to the Lord's word, or as executioners of justice; but I take it rather in the first sense.
“ Seek righteousness.” That is, the righteousness of Christ, just and righteous dealing between man and man: and the truth of God which is called the word of righteousness; none more fit to seek justice and righteousness, than those that are the meek of the earth.
“Seek meekness.” Yea, though they were meek before. When God calls upon wicked men, to love and seek him, as Estius observes,* he wills them to do that which they did
est quærere magis conatu et studio quam interrogatione aut petitione quod per 780 significatur, i, e. petere seu rogare et si interim confundatur.Mercer. Pagni. in Thes.
* Quæritur quo re bæc non sit supervacanea prophetæ exhortatio, cum eo ipso
not before: when he calls upon godly men to love and seek him, he wills them to do that more which they had done before. It is not enough to be habitually godly, but whatever grace we have in the habit, must be drawn forth into exercise, and though we have wrought judgment, we must do it again.
We must not think to exercise one grace alone, but there must be an harmony, mixture, conjuncture of all graces. Some are wise, but not zealous; some zealous, but not wise : some just, but not meek; some meek and sweet dispositioned, but not righteous in execution of justice. But these graces must be mixed together; and therefore saith the Lord here, “Seek righteousness, seek meekness."
“ It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.” Ye shall surely be hidden from the wrath to come, and it may be from the wrath present. This may be,* says Junius, is not a word of doubting, but provoking to more endeavour : it is a half promise.
From all which words ye may observe these five notes.
First, that God hath his days of anger, there is wrath and anger with God, which upon occasion breaks forth upon the children of men.
Secondly, that in these days of anger, God is very willing for to hide, save, and defend his own people.
Thirdly, though he be willing to hide his own children in evil times, yet he doth sometimes leave them at great uncertainties.
Fourthly, when God's anger doth break forth upon the children of men, and his people at uncertainties, not knowing what will become of them; then and then especially it is their duty to seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, and to seek meekness.
Fifthly, that if any men can do any good in the evil day, it is the meek of the earth.
First, God hath his days of anger, there is wrath and anger with God.
Take anger properly for a passion, and so there is none
mansueti sunt, Dominum jam antea quæsierint? Resp. Quando impiis discitor diligite Dominum moventur facere id quod antea non faciebant ; quando autem rectaicorde discitur, diligite Dominum monentur amplius et diligentus facere quod antea faciebant, ita cum dicitur malis et duris quærite Dominum, &c. Estius in locum.
* Miso Non dubitantis est sed sollicitudinem exacueniis. Jun, in Exod. xxxii.