Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
~ Psalm 51:18, Psalm 69:35
And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
~ Jeremiah 33:7, Isaiah 66:18
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
~ Isaiah 2:2-3, Isaiah 60:1-2, Psalm 97:6, Isaiah 60:7
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
~ Revelation 21:2
Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
~ Hebrews 8:5
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
~ 1 Corinthians 11:2
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
~ John 13:17
A Sermon Preached Before The Honourable House of Commons At Their Late Solemne Fast Wednesday March 27. 1644, by George Gillespie, Minister at Edinburgh.
When the Lord shall build up Zion he shall appeare in his glory.
~ Psalm 102:16
To the Reader.
Divine providence hath made it my Lot, and a Calling hath induced me (who am lesse then the least of all the servants of Christ) to appeare among others in this Cloud of publike Witnesses. The scope of the Sermon is, to endevour the removall of the obstructions both of Humiliation and Reformation; two things which ought to lye very much in our thoughts at this time: Concerning both I shall preface but little. Reformation hath many unfriends, some upon the right hand, and some upon the left: While others cry up that detestable indifferencie or neutrality, abjured in our solemne Covenant, in so much that a Gamaliel and Gallio, men who regarded alike the Jewish and the Christian Religion, are highly commended, as examples for all Christians, and as men walking by the rules not onely of Policy, but of Reason and Religion. Now let all those that are either against us, or not with us, doe what they can, the right hand of the most High, shall perfect the glorious begun Reformation: Can all the world keep downe the Sunne of Righteousnesse from rising or being risen? can they spread a vaile over it? And though they digge deep to hide their counsels; is not this a time of Gods over-reaching and befoolling all plotting wits? they have conceived iniquity, and they shall bring forth vanity: they have sowne the wind, and they shall reap the whirlewind: Wherefore wee ewill wait upon the Lord that hides his face from the house of Iacob, and will look for him: And fthough he slay us, yet will we trust in him. The Lord hath commanded to proclaime, and to say to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation commeth: Rejoyce with Jerusalem all yee that mourn for her; For ibehold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation: But I have more to say: Mourn, O mourne with Jerusalem all yee that rejoyce for her; This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke and of blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth: It is an interwoven time, warped with mercies, and wooted with judgements; Say not thou in thine heart, the dayes of my mourning are at an end: Oh wee are to this day an unhumbled and an unprepared people; and there are among us, both many cursed Achans, and many sleeping Jonahs, but few wrestling Jacobs, l even the wise Virgins are slumbring with the foolish: Surely unlesse wee bee timely awaked, and more deeply humbled, m God will punish us yet seven times more for our sinnes: and if he have chastised us with whips, he will chastise us with Scorpions: and he will yet give a further charge to the Sword, no avenge the quarrell of his Covenant. In such a case I cannot say according to the now Oxford Divinity, That Preces & Lachrymae Prayers and Teares, must be our only one shelter and fortresse, and that wee must cast away defensive armes as unlawfull in any case whatsoever, against the supreame Magistrate; (that is, by interpretation, they would have us doe no more then Pray, to the end themselves may do no lesse then Prey:) Wherein they are contradicted not only by Pareus, and by others that are eager for a Presbytery, (as a Prelate of chiefe note hath lately taken, I should say mistaken, his marke) but even by p those that are eager Royalists: (Pardon me that I give them not their right name; I am sure when all is well reckoned we are better friends to royall authority then themselves.) Yet herein I doe agree with them, that Prayers and Tears will prove our strongest weapons, and the onely divine, the weapons that fight for us from above. O then fear the Lord ye his Saints; O r stirre up your selves to lay hold on him; sKeep no silence and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. O that we could all make Wells in our dry and desertlike hearts, that we may u draw out water, even buckets full, to quench the wrath of a sin-revenging God, the fire which still burneth against the Lords inheritance. God grant that this Sermon be not as water spilt on the ground but may xdrop as the raine, and distill as the dew of heaven upon thy soule.
A Sermon Preached Before the Honourable House of Commons: At the late Solemne Fast, March 27. 1644.
And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the forme of the House, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the commings in thereof, and all the formes thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and all the formes thereof, and all the lawes thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole forme thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and doe them.
~ Ezekiel 43:11
IT is not long since I did, upon another day of humiliation, lay open Englands disease from that text, 2 Chron. 20. 33. Howbeit the High Places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their Fathers. Though a the Sunne of Righteousnesse be risen, with healing in his wings, yet the land is not healed, no not of its worst disease, which is corruption in Religion, and the iniquity of your holy things. I did then shew the symptomes, and the cause of this evill disease. The symptomes, are your high Places, not yet taken away, many of your old superstitious ceremonies to this day remaining, which though not so evill as the High-places of Idolatry, in which Idolls were worshipped, yet are parallel to the Highplaces of Will worship, of which we reade, that the people (thinking it too hard to be tied to goe up to Jerusalem with every sacrifice) did sacrifice still in the High places, yet unto the Lord their God only: pleading for their so doing, antiquity, custome, and other defences of that kinde, which have been alledged for your Ceremonies. But albeit these be foule sports in the Churches face, which offend the eyes of her glorious Bridegroome, Jesus Christ, yet that which doth lesse appeare, is more dangerous, and that is the cause of all this evill, in the very bowells and heart of the Church; the people of the land, great and small, have not as yet prepared their hearts unto the Lord their God: mercy is prepared for the land, but the land is not prepared for mercy; I shall say no more of the disease at this instant.
But I have now chosen a text, which holds forth a remedy for this malady, a cure for this case. That is, that if we will humble our uncircumcised hearts, and accept of the punishment of our iniquity; If we be dashamed and confounded before the Lord this day for our evill wayes, if we judge our selves as guilty, and put our mouth in the dust, and cloath our selves with shame, as with a garment; If wee repent and abhorre our selves in dust and ashes, then the Lord will not abhorre us, but take pleasure in, to dwell among us, to reveale himself unto us, to set before us the right patterne of his owne House, that the Tabernacle of God may be with men, and pure Ordinances, where before they were defiled and mixed; He will cut off the names of the Idolls out of the land, and cause the false Prophet, and the unclean spirit to passe out of the land, and the glory of the Lord shall dwell in the land. But withall we must take heed, h that we turn not againe to folly, that our hearts start not aside, ilike a deceitfull bowe, that we keep the wayes of the Lord, and doe not wickedly depart from our God. Thus you have briefly, the occasion, and the sum of what I am to deliver from this Text.
The particulars whereof, I shall not touch, till I have in the first place resolved a difficult, yet profitable question.
You may aske, what House, or what Temple doth the Prophet here speak of: and how can it be made to appeare that this Scripture is applicable to this time?
I answere, l some have taken great paines to demonstrate, that this Temple, which the Prophet saw in this vision, was no other then the Temple of Solomon, and that the accomplishment of this vision of the Temple, City, and division of the Land, was the building of the Temple and City againe, after the captivity, and the restoring of the Leviticall worship, and Jewish Republike, which came to passe in the dayes of Nehemiah and Zorobabel. This sense is also most obvious to every one that readeth this Prophecie. But there are very strong reasons against it, which make other Learned Expositers not to embrace it.
For 1. The Temple of Solomon was 120 cubits high. The Temple built by Zorobabel, was but 60. cubits high. Ezra 6. 3.
2. The Temple of Zorobabelm was built in the same place where the Temple of Solomon was, that is in Jerusalem, upon mount Moriah. But this Temple of Ezekiel was without the City, and n a great way distant from it. Chap. 48. verse 10. compared with verse 15. The whole portion of the Levites, and a part of the portion of the Priests, was betwixt the Temple and the City.
3. Moses his greatest Altar, the Altar of Burnt-offerings, was not half so big as Ezekiells Altar: o compare Ezek 43. 16. with Exod. 27. 1. So is Moses Altar of Incense, much lesse then Ezekiell’s Altar of Incense, Exod. 30. 2. compared with Ezek. 41. 22.
4. There are many new ceremoniall Lawes, (different from the Mosaicall) delivered in the following part of this vision, Chap. 45. and 46. as p Interpreters have particularly observed upon these places.
5. The Temple and City were not of that greatnesse, which is described in this Vision: for the measuring Reed containing sixe cubits of the Sanctuary (not common cubits) Chap. 40. 5. which amount to more then 10. foot; the utter wall of the Temple being 2000. Reeds in compasse, Chap. 42. 20. was by estimation foure miles, and the Citie, chap. 48. 16. 35. six and thirty miles in compasse.
6. The vision of the holy waters, chap. 47, issuing from the Temple, and after the space of 4000. reeds, growing to a river which could not be passed over, and healing the waters and the fishes, cannot be literally understood of the Temple at Jerusalem.
7. The Land is divided among the twelve Tribes, chap. 48. and that in a way and order different from the division made by Joshua, which cannot be understood of the restitution after the captivitie, because the twelve Tribes did not return.
8. This New Temple hath with it a New Covenant, and that an everlasting one, Ezek. 37. 26, 27. But at the return of the people from Babylon there was no new Covenant, onely the same that was before continued till Christs comming.
Wherefore we must needs hold with Rome, Gregory, and other latter Interpreters, that this vision of Ezekiel is to bee expounded of the spirituall Temple, and Church of Christ, made up of Jewes and Gentiles; and that not by way of allegories only (which is the sense of those whose opinion I have now confuted) but according to the proper and direct intendment of the vision, which in many materiall points cannot agree to Zorobabels Temple.
I am herein very much strengthned while I observe t many parallel passages betwixt the vision of Ezekiel and the Revelation of John; and while I remember withall that the Prophets doe in many places fore-tell the institution of the Ordinances, Government and Worship of the New Testament, under the termes of Temple, Priests, Sacrifices, &c. and do set forth the deliverance and stability of the Church of Christ, under the notions of Canaan; of bringing back the captivity, &c. God speaking to his people at that time, so as they might best understand him.
Now if you aske, how the severall particulars in the vision may be particularly expounded, and applyed to the Church of Christ? I answer, the Word of God, the River that makes glad the Citie of God, though it have many easie and knowne Foords, where any of Christs Lambs may passe through, yet in this Vision and other places of this kind, it is a great deep, where the greatest Elephant (as he said) may swim. I shall not say with the Jewes, that one should not read the last nine Chapters of Ezekiel, before he be thirty yeers old: Surely a man may be twice thirty yeers old, and a good Divine too, and yet not able to understand this Vision. Some tell us, that no man can understand it without skill in Geometry, which cannot be denyed: but there is greater need of Ecclesiometry, if I may so speak, to measure the Church in her length or continuance through many generations; in her breadth or spreading through many Nations; her depth of humiliation, sorrowes, and sufferings: her height of faith, hope, joy, and comfort, and to measure each part according to this pattern here set before us.
Wherein, for my part, I must professe (as Socrates in another case) Scio quod nescio. I know that there is a great mystery here which I cannot reach. Only I shall let forth unto you that little light which the Father of Lights hath given me.
I conceive that the Holy Ghost in this Vision hath pointed at foure severall times and conditions of the Church; that wee may take with us the full meaning, without addition or diminution.
Observing this rule, that what agreeth not to the Type, must be meant of the thing typified; and what is not fulfilled at one time, must be fulfilled of the Church at another time.
First of all, it cannot be denyed, that he points in some sort at the restitution of the Temple, worship of God, and City of Jerusalem, after the captivitie, as a type of the Church of Christ: for though many things in the vision do not agree to that time, as hath been proved, yet some things doe agree: this as it is least intended in the Vision, so it is not fit for me at this time to insist upon it. But he that would understand the forme of the Temple of Jerusalem, the severall parts, and excellent structure thereof, will find enough written of that subject.
Secondly, this and other prophecies of building againe the Temple, may well be applyed to the building of the Christian Church by the Master-builders the Apostles, and by other Ministers of the Gospel since their dayes: Let us heare but two witnesses of the Apostles themselves applying those prophecies to the calling of the Gentiles; the one is Paul, 2 Cor. 6. 16. For ye are the Temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The other is James, who applyeth to the converted Gentiles that prophecie of Amos, After this I will return and will build again the Tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruines thereof, and I will set it up, Act. 15. 16.
But there is a third thing aimed at in this prophesie, and that more principally then any of the other two, which is the repairing of the breaches and ruines of the Christian Church, and the building up of Zion in her glory, about the time of the destruction of Antichrist, and the conversion of the Jewes; and this happinesse hath the Lord reserved to the last times, to build a more excellent and glorious Temple then former generations have seen. I meane not of the building of the materiall. Temple at Jerusalem, which the Jewes doe fancie and look for; But I speak of the Church and people of God; and that I may not seeme to expound an obscure Prophesie too conjecturally, which many in these dayes doe, I have these Evidences following, for what I say.
1. If Paul and James, in those places which I last cited, doe apply the prophesies of building a new Temple to the first fruits of the Gentiles, and to their first conversion, then they are much more to be applyed to the fulnesse of the Gentiles, and most of all to the fulnesse both of Jewes and Gentiles, which we wait for. Now if the fall of them (saith the Apostle, speaking of the Jewes) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulnesse? And y again, If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world; what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? Plainly insinuating a greater encrease of the Church, and a larger spread of the Gospel, at the conversion of the Jewes, and so a fairer Temple, yea another world in a manner to be looked for.
2. The Lord himselfe in this same chapter, vers. 7. speaking of the Temple here prophesied of, saith, The place of my Throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their Kings &c. Which as it cannot be understood of the Jewes after the Captivity, who did againe forsake the Lord, and were forsaken of him, as Hierome noteth upon the place; so it can as ill be said, to bee already fulfilled upon the Christian Church, but rather that such a Church is yet to be expected in which the Lord shall take up his dwelling for ever, and shall not be provoked by their defilements and whoredomes, againe to take away his Kingdom, and to remove the Candlestick.
3. This last Temple is also prophesied of by zIsa. 2. 2. And it shall come to passe in the last dayes, that the mountaine of the Lords house shall be established in the top of the mountaines (even as here Ezekiel did see this Temple upon a very high mountaine, chap 40. 2.) and shall be exalted above the hils, and all Nations shall flow unto it, &c. And they shal beat their swords into Plough shares, and their speares into pruning books: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Here is the building of such a Temple as shall bring peaceable and quiet times to the Church, of which that Evangelicall Prophet speaketh in other places also. And if we shall read that which followeth, Isa. 2. 5. as the Chaldee Paraphrase doth. And the men of the house of Jacob shall say, Come yee, &c. then the building of the Temple there spoken of, shall appeare to be joyned with the Jewes conversion; But howsoever, it is joyned with a great peace and calme, such as yet the Church hath not seen.
4. We find in this vision, that when Ezekiel’s Temple shall be built, Princes shall no more oppresse the people of God, nor defile the name of God, chap. 45. 8. and 43. 7. which are in like manner joyned, Psal. 102. 15, 16. The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord and all the Kings of the earth thy glory, when the Lord shal build up Zion, he shall appeare in his glorie, verse 22. when the people are gathered together, and the Kingdomes (understand here also Kings as the Septuagints doe) to serve the Lord. Which Psalme is acknowledged to be a Prophesie of the Kingdome of Christ, though under the type of bringing back the Captivity of the Jewes, and of the building again of Zion at that time. The like Prophesie of Christ, wee have Psal. 72. 11. All Kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him. But I aske, have not the Kings of the earth hitherto for the most part, set themselves against the Lord, and against his Christ? And how then shall all those Prophesies hold true, except they be co-incident with Revel 17. 16, 17. And that time is yet come, when God shall put it in the hearts of Kings to hate the whore (of Rome) and they shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eate her flesh, and burne her with fire. It is foretold that God shall doe this great and good work, even by those Kings, who have before subjected themselves to Antichrist.
5. That which I now draw from Ezekiel’s vision, is no other but the same which was shewed to John, Rev. 11. 1, 2. a place so like to this of Ezekiel, that we must take speciall notice of it, and make that serve for a Commentary to this; And there was given me (saith Iohn) a Reed like unto a Rod, and the Angel stood, saying, Rise and measure the Temple of God, and the Altar, and them that worship therein. But the Court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not: for it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy City shall they tread under foot forty and two moneths. This time of two and forty moneths, must be expounded by Revel. 13. 5. where it is said of the Beast, power was given unto him, to continue forty and two moneths: which according to the Computation of Egyptian yeares (reckoning thirty dayes to each moueth) make three yeares and a halfe, or 1260. days, and that is (e) the time of the witnesses prophecying in Sackcloth, and of the womans abode in the wildernesse. Now lest it should bee thought that the treading downe of the holy City by the Gentiles (that is, the treading under foot of the true Church, the City of God, by the tyranny of Antichrist and the power of his complices) should never have an end in this world, the Angel gives John to understand that the Church, the house of the living God, shall not lye desolate for ever, but shall be built again, (for the measuring is in reference to building) that the Kingdome of Antichrist shall come to an end, and that after 1260 yeares, counting dayes for yeares, as the Prophers doe. It is not my purpose now to search when this time of the power of the beast, and of the Churches desolation did begin, and when it ends, and so to find out the time of building this new Temple: onely this much I trust I may say, that if we reckon from the time that the power of the Beast did begin, and withall consider the great revolution and turning of things upside downe in these our dayes, certainly the work is upon the wheele: the Lord hath pluckt his hand out of his bosome, he hath whet his sword, he hath bent his bow, he hath also prepared the instruments of death, against Antichrist: so saith the Psalmist of all Persecutors, Psal. 7. 12, 13. but it will fall most upon that capitall enemy. Whereof there will be occasion to say more afterward.
Let me here only adde a word concerning a fourth thing which the holy Ghost may seeme to intend in this Prophesie, and that is the Church triumphant, the new Jerusalem, which is above, unto which respect is to bee had (as Interpreters judge) in some parts of the vision, which happily cannot bee so well applyed to the Church in this world. Even as the new Jerusalem is so described f in the Revelation that it may appeare to be the Church of Christ, reformed, beautified, and inlarged in this world, and fully perfected and glorified in the world to come: and as many things which are said of it, can very hardly bee made to agree to the Church in this world; so other things which are said of it, be applyed to the Church glorified in heaven, as where it is said, Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men, (having come downe from God out of heaven) and hee will dwell with them and they shall bee his people, and God himselfe shall be with them, and be their God. Againe, And the nations of them that are saved, shall walke in the light of it: and the Kings of the earth doe bring their glory and honour into it.
But now I make haste to the severall particulars contained in my Text, I pray God, saith the Apostle) your whole spirit, and soule, and body be preserved blamelesse. And what he there prays for, this Text rightly understood and applied may work in us, that is, gracious affections, gracious mindes, gracious actions. In the first place, a change upon our corrupt and wicked affections. If they be ashamed of all that they have done, saith the Lord. Secondly, a change upon our blind minds, Shew them the forme of the house, and the fashion thereof, &c. Thirdly, a change also upon our actions, That they may keep the whole forme thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof and doe them.
For the first, k the word here used is not that which signifieth blushing through modesty, but it signifieth shame for that which is indeed shamefull, filthy, and abominable, so that it were impenitency, and an aggravation of the fault not to be ashamed for it.
I shall here build onely one Doctrine, which will be of exceeding great use for such a day as this. If either we would have mercy to our selves, or would doe acceptable service in the publike Reformation, we must not onely cease to doe evill and learne to doe well, but also be ashamed, confounded, and humbled for our former evill wayes. Here is a two-fold necessity, which presseth upon us this duty, to loath and abhorre our selves for all our abominations, to bee greatly abashed and confounded before our God. First, without this we shall not find grace and favour to our owne soules. Secondly, wee shall else miscarry in the worke of Reformation.
First, I say, let us doe all the good we can, God is not pleased with us, unlesse we be ashamed and humbled for former guiltinesse. Be zealous and repentl saith Christ to the Laodecians, be zealous in time comming, and repent of your former lukewarmnesse. What fruit had yee then in those things whereof now yee are ashamed?, saith the Apostle to the Saints at Rome, of whom he saith plainly, that they were servants to righteousnes, and had their fruit unto holinesse; but that is not all, they were also ashamed while they looked back upon their old faults; which is the rather to bee observed, because o it maketh against the Antinomian error, now a foot. It hath a cleare reason for it, for without this, God is still dishonoured, and not restored to his glory. O Lordp (saith Daniel) righteousnesse belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces. Those two go together. We must be confounded, that God may be glorified. Wee must bee judged, that God may be iustified: our mouthes must be stopped, and laid in the dust, that the Lord may be just when he speaketh, and cleare when he judgeth. And as r the Apostle teacheth us, that if we judge our selves, we shall not be judged of God; and by the rule of Contraries, if we judge not our selves, we shall be judged of God: So say I now, if wee give glory to God, and take shame and confusion of faces to our selves, God shall not confound us, nor put us to shame. But if we will not be confounded and ashamed in our selves, God shall confound us, and powre shame upon us. If we loath not our selves, God shall loath us.
Nay let me argue from the manner of men, as s the Prophet doth, offer it now unto the Governuor, will he bee pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Will thy Governour, nay thy neighbour who is as thou art, after an injury done to him, bee pleased with thee, if thou doe but leave off to doe him any more such injuries? Will he not expect an acknowledgement of the wrong done? Is it not Christ’s rule, that he who seven times trespasseth against his brother, seven times turne again, saying, I repent? David would hardly trust Ittai to goe up and downe with him, who was but a stranger; how much more if hee had done him some great wrong, and then refused to confesse it? And how shall wee think, that it can stand with the honour of the most high God, that wee seem to draw neare unto him, and to walk in his wayes, while in the mean time we do not acknowledge our iniquitie, and even accuse, shame, judge and condemne our selves? Nay xbe not deceived, God is not mocked.
This is the first necessity of the duty which this Text holdeth forth. The Lord requireth of us not onely to doe his will for the future, but to be ashamed for what we have done amisse before.
The other necessity of it (which is also in the Text) is this, that except we be thus ashamed and humbled, God hath not promised to shew us the pattern of his house, nor to reveale his will unto us. Which agreeth well with that Psal. 25. 9. The meek will he teach his way: and vers. 12. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall chuse, and vers. 14. The secret of the Lord is with them that feare him, and hee will shew them his Covenant. There is sanctification in the affections, and here is humiliation in the affections, spoken of as necessary means of attaining the knowledge of the will of God. Let the affections be ordered aright, then light which is offered, shall be seen and received; but let light be offered, when disordered affections doe overcloud the eye of the minde, then all is in vaine.
In this case, a man shall be like the deaf Adder, which will not be taken by the voice of the charmers, charming never so wisely. Let the helme of reason be stirred, as well as you can imagine, if there be a contrary winde in the sailes of the affections, the ship will not answere to the helme. It is a good argument: hee is a wicked man, a covetous man, a proud man, a carnall man, an unhumbled man. Ergo, he will readily miscarry in his judgement. So Divines have argued against the Popes infallibility. The Pope hath been, and may be a profane man. Ergo, he may erre in his judgement and decrees. And what wonder, that they who receive not the love of the truth, be given over to strong delusion, that they should beleeve a lie? It is as good an argument. Hee is a humbled man, and a man that feareth God. Ergo (in so far as he acteth and exerciseth those graces) the Lord shall teach him in the way that he shall choose. I say, in so farre as he acteth those graces: because when he grieves the spirit, and cherisheth the flesh, when the child of God is more swayed by his corruptions, then by his graces, then he is in great danger to be given up to the counsell of his own heart, and to be deserted by a the holy Ghost, which should leade him into all truth.
But we must take notice of a seeming contradiction here in the Text. God saith to the Prophet in the former verse, Shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. And Jerem. 31. 19. Ephraim is first instructed, then ashamed. And here it is quite turned over in my Text; If they be ashamed, shew them the House.
I shall not here make any digression unto the debates and distinctions of School-men, what influence and power the affections have upon the understanding and the will. I will content my self with this plain answer. Those two might very well stand together: light is a help to humiliation, and humiliation a help to light. As there must be some work of faith, and some apprehension of the Love of God, in order before true Evangelicall repentance, yet this repentance helpeth us, to beleeve more firmly, that our sinnes are forgiven. The soul in the pains of the new birth, is like Tamar travelling of her twins, Pharez and Zarah: faith like Zarah, first putting out his hand, but hath no strength to come forth, therefore draweth backe the hand againe, till repentance like Pharez have broken forth; then can faith come forth more easily. Which appeareth in that woman, Luke 7. 47, 48. shee wept much, because she loved much, she loved much, because shee beleeved, and by faith had her heart enlarged, with apprehending the rich grace, and free love of Christ to poore sinners: this faith moves her bowells, melts her heart, stirres her sorrow, kindles her affection. Then, and not till then, she gets a prop to her faith, and a sure ground to build upon. It is not till shee have wept much, that Christ intimates mercy, and saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee. Just so is the case in this Text. Shew them the House, saith the Lord, that they may be ashamed; Give them a view of it, that they may think the worse of themselves, that they want it, that they may be ashamed for all their iniquities, whereby they have separate betwixt their God and themselves, so that they can not behold the beauty of the Lord, nor enquire in his Temple. And if, when they begin to see it, they have such thoughts as these, and humble themselves, and acknowledge their iniquities, then goe to, and shew them the whole Fabrick, and Structure, and all the gates thereof, and all the parts thereof, and all things pertaining thereto.
I suppose I have said enough for confirmation and cleering of the Doctrine concerning the necessitie of our being ashamed and confounded before the Lord. I have now a fourefold application to draw from it.
The first application shall be to the malignant enemies of the Cause and People of God at this time, who deserve Jeremiahs black mark to be put upon them. dWere they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. When he would say the worst of them, this is it; Thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. There are some sonnes of Belial risen up against us, who have done some things, whereof, I dare say, many Heathens would have been ashamed: yet they are as farre from being ashamed of their outrages, as Caligula was, who said of himself, that he loved nothing better in his own nature, then that hee could not be ashamed; nay, their glory is their shame, and if the Lord doe not open their eyes to see their shame, their end will be destruction. Is it a light matter to swear and blaspheme, to coine and spread lies, to devise calumnies, to break Treaties, to contrive trecherous plots, to exercise so many barbarous cruelties, to shed so much blood, and (as if that were too little) to bury men quick? Is all this no matter of shame? And when they have so often professed to be for the true Protestant Religion, shall they not be ashamed to thirst so much after Protestant blood, and in that cause desire to associate themselves with all the Papists at home and abroad, whose assistance they can have, and particularly with those matchlesse monsters (they call them Subjects) of Ireland, who (if the computation fail not) have shed the blood of some hundred thousands in that Kingdome? for our part, it seems, they are resolved to give the worst name to the best thing, which wee can doe, and therefore they have not been ashamed to call a Religious and Loyall Covenant, a traiterous and damnable Covenant. I have no pleasure to take up these and other dunghills: the Text hath put this in my mouth which I have said. O that they could recover themselves out of the gall of bitternesse, and bond of iniquity. O that we could hear that they begin to be ashamed of their abominations. Lord when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall see and be ashamed, for their envie at thy people. The Lord shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
But now in the second place let me speak to the Kingdom, and to you whom it concerneth this day, to be humbled, both for your own sins, and for the sins of the Kingdom, which you represent. Although your selves whom God hath placed in this honourable station & the Kingdom which God hath blessed with many choice blessings, be much and worthily honoured among the children of men, yet when you have to do with God, and with that wherein his great Name and his glory is concerned, you must not think of honouring, but rather abashing your selves, & creeping low in the dust. Livius tels us that when M. Claud. Marcellus would have dedicate a Temple to Honour and Vertue, the Priests hindered it, quod utri Deo res divina fi eret, sciri non posset; because so it could not be known, to which of the two Gods, he should offer sacrifice: farre be it from any of you, to suffer the will of God, and your own credit, to come in competition together, or to put back any point of truth, because it may seem peradventure some way to wound your reputation, though when all is well examined, it shall be found your glory.
You are now about the casting out of many corruptions, in the government of the Church, and worship of God. Remember therefore it is not enough to cleanse the house of the Lord, but you must be humbled for your former defilements wherewith it was polluted. It is not enough that England say with Ephraim in l one place, What have I to do any more with Idols? England must say also with Ephraim in m another place, Surely after that I was turned I repented; and after that I was instructed I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed and even confounded because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Let England sit down in the dust, and wallow it selfe in ashes, and cry out as n the Lepers did, Unclean, Unclean, and then rise up and cast away the least superstitious Ceremony, as a menstruous cloth, and say unto it, Get thee hence. I know that those who are not convinced of the intrinsecall evill and unlawfulnesse of former corruptions, may upon other considerations go along and joyne in this Reformation. For according to Augustine’s rule, men are to let go those ecclesiasticall customes, which neither Scriptures, nor Councels bind upon us, nor yet are universally received by all Churches. And according to Ambrose his rule to Valentinian, Epist. 31. Nullus pudor est ad meliora transive; It is no shame to change that which is not so good, for that which is better. So doth Arnobius answer the Pagans, who objected the novelty of the Christian Religion; you should not look so much, saith he, quid reliquerimus, as quid secuti simus: be rather satisfied with the good which we follow, then to quarrell why we have changed our former practise. He giveth instance, that when men found the art of weaving clothes, they did no longer clothe themselves in skins, and when they learned to build Houses, they left off to dwell in rocks and caves. All this carrieth reason with it, for Optimum est eligendum. If all this doe not satisfie, it may be rNazianzens rule move some man; when there was a great stirre about his Archbishoprik of Constantinople, he yeelded for peace: because this storm was raised for his sake, he wished to be cast into the Sea. He often professeth, that he did not affect riches, nor dignities, but rather to be freed of his Bishoprick. We are like to listen long, before we heare such expressions either from Arch-bishop or Bishop in England, who seem not to care much who sink, so that themselves swim above. Yet I shall name one rule more, which I shall take from the confessions of two English Prelats. One of them hath this Contemplation, upon Hezekiahs taking away the brazen Serpent, when he perceived it to be superstitiously abused: Superstitious use, saith he, can marre the very institutions of God; how much more the most wise and well grounded devices of men?t Another of them acknowledgeth, that whatsoever is taken up, at the injunction of men, and is not of Gods own prescribing, when it is drawn to superstition, commeth under the case of the Brazen Serpent. You may easily make the assumption, and then the conclusion concerning those Ceremonies, which are not Gods institutions, but mens devices, and have been grossely and notoriously abused by many to Superstition.
Now to return to the point in hand, if upon all or any of these or the like principles, any of this Kingdom shall joyn in the removall of corruptions out of the Church, which yet they do not conceive to be in themselves and intrinsecally corruptions in Religion; In this case, I say (as the Apostle in another place) I therein do rejoyce and will rejoyee, because every way Reformation is set forward. But let such a one look to himselfe how the Doctrine drawn from this Text falleth upon him, that he who onely ceaseth to do evill, but repenteth not of the evill, he who applieth himselfe to reformation, but is not ashamed of former defilements, is in danger both of Gods displeasure, and of miscarrying in his judgement about Reformation. It is farre from my meaning to discourage any, who are with humble and upright hearts, seeking after more light then yet they have. I say it only for their sake, who through the presumption and unhumblednesse of their spirits, will acknowledge no fault in any thing they have formerly done in Church matters.