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Die Mercurij, 29. Iunij, 1642.

IT is this day Ordered by the COMMONS now aſſembled in PARLIAMENT, That Sir Thomas Barrington doe returne thanks to Doctor Gouge for the great pains he took in his Sermon this day preach't at St. Margarets in Weſtminſter at the intreaty of the COMMONS Houſe of PARLIAMENT, this be­ing the day of the publike Faſt, and that he be deſired to Print his. Ser­mon; and that no man preſume to print it, but ſuch as he ſhall appoint, till the Houſe ſhall take further Or­der.

H. Elſynge, Cler. Parl, D. Com.

I Appoint Ioſhua Kirton to Print the fore-ſaid Sermon.


THE SAINTS SVPPORT, Set out in A SERMON PREACHED Before the Honourable Houſe of COMMONS aſſembled in PARLIAMENT.

At a publick Faſt, 29. Iune, 1642.

By William Gouge.

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

ECCLUS. 49. 13.

Among the Elect was Nehemiah, whoſe renown is great.

LONDON, Printed by G. M. for Joſhua Kirton at his Shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the white Horſe, MDCXLII.


Moſt worthy Patriots,

THE Wiſe-man among his ma­ny approved Proverbes,Prov 25 11. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Iuxta modus ſuos. Merc. Quibus modia dici debet Vt. Tempore, ſuo. 〈◊〉. hath this choyce one, A word ſpoaken upon his wheeles (ſo runnes the Originall, or ſet upon his meaſures, that is, as our Engliſh not unfit­ly hath tranſlated it, fitly ſpoken) A word fitly ſpoken, is the like Apples of Gold in pi­cutres of ſilver; pretious and pleaſant. Pre­tious, as golden Apples: pleaſant as yel­low Gold curiouſly wrought and artificially wre­thed in white Silver.

This Proverbe turned my minde to thinke of ſome ſeaſonable Theame, after notice was given me, that by your Order, which to mee is a Law, I was deputed to preach before your Honourable Aſſembly. And I thinke I have hit upon a fit Subject, were I fit and able to handle it as it is meet to be handled in ſuch an Aſ­ſembly.

It is the Patterne of a good Patriot.

A point pertinent in Generall and Particu­lar.

In Generall, a Patterne or Example regi­ſtred and approoved in Sacred Scripture, ſhews

1. What is the good and acceptable will of God.

2. **Si inveniun­tur exempla quae nos per re­ctan ducunt viam, ſequen. da ſunt. Hier. ad celant.What in like caſe others are bound to doe.

3. Excitamur in ipem, qua nos e­tiam ita poſſe vivere, qui ho­mines ſum ex eo quod aliqui homines ita vixerunt, mi­nimè deſpera­mus. Aug de Trin. l. 8. c. 9.What may be done by ſuch as will thorowly ſet themſelves to it.

4. VVhat, when it is ſo done, may be pleaded in an humble-ſelf-denying manner before God.

In Particular this Example of Nehemiah ſhewes,

1. VVho is a good Patriot.

2. How he ought to behave himſelfe.

3. **〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Plut de Lib inſtit.VVhat difficulties and dangers attend him.

4. VVhat oppoſition and contradiction hee is like to meet with.

5. VVhat reſolutions become him.

6. On whom his confidence is to be placed.

Our times are in many things not much unlike to the time wherein Nehemiah came to Jeruſalem.

Grievances in State.

Corruptions in Church.

He did as much as in him lay (and that indeed was very much) for redreſſing of the one, and re­moving of the other.

His patterne is not onely an Inſtruction, to teach what is to be done: or an Incitation to ſtir up ſuch as know what is to be done: but alſo a Iu­ſtification and Approbation of ſuch as doe as he did.

And they may looke for ſuch an end,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉&c. Ioſeph Aniq. Iul. l. 11. c. 5. as Ioſe­phus teſtifies that Nehemiah had. His teſtimo­ny is this, When Nehemiah had done moſt magnificently many good things worthy of praiſe, being an old man he died, and leſt behind him the name of a gracious, juſt and bountifull man toward his owne Nation.

The Lord encline our great Kings heart to you, as he did the heart of Nehemiahs King to him, and ſo worke by you, as he did by him: that every of you may with ſuch confidence ſay to your God, as he did to his, Thinke on me, my GOD for good, according to all that I have done for this Peo­ple. This is, this ſhall be, the prayer of

Your daily Oratour William Gouge.

A SERMON PREACHED Before the Honourable Houſe of COMMONS, at the celebration of a FAST 29. Iune, 1642.

NEHEM. 5. 19.

Thinke upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

THoſe two motives which en­duced the good Patriot Nehe­miah to preferre this Petition to his God, have enduced me to chooſe it for my Text, to handle it before ſo many worthy Patriots as are now met together to preſent their humble ſupplications to their God.

The two motives were theſe,

1. The many, great, good things which he had done for the Church and State.

2. The many, great, deſperate dangers which2 he had met with, and knew he ſhould further meet with in proſecuting his good beginnings.

Whether there be not at this time the like occaſi­ons for the repreſentative body of this Kingdome, as one man, to pray and ſay, Thinke upon me my God for good, according to all that I have done for this people, let the times judge.

To this Text the more diligent heed is to be gi­ven, in that it containeth the laſt memorable mat­ter which the Holy Ghoſt ſaw meet to commend to his Church in the old Teſtament. For the for­mer part of it (wherein the maine ſubſtance of the whole lyeth) is repeated in the laſt clauſe of this Booke,Neh. 13. 31. which is the laſt Booke of the old Teſta­ment. For all the Propheſies regiſtred in the old Teſtament were before Nehemiahs time: which thus appeareth. All but the three laſt were before the Captivity of the Iewes in Babylon. Two of thoſe laſt three,Ezr. 5. 1. Hag. 1. 1. Zech. 1. 1. 7. 1. Haggai and Zechary uttered their Pro­pheſies about the time that the Temple was finiſh­ed, in the foure firſt yeares of Darius his reigne. Malachi who is the laſt of all the Prophets prophe­cied anone after the Temple was built,Malachi, id eſt Eſdras, poſt Aggeum & Zechariam, qui ſub Dario pro­phet averunt, fu­iſse credendus eſt Hier in pro in Malach. Lege Clem A­lex Strom. l 1. as is evi­dent by the maine ſcope of his Prophecy: So as he may well be thought to have uttered his Pro­pheſie in the daies of Darius, or in that time of Ar­taxerxes reigne, wherein Ezra came firſt to Ieruſa­lem. For Malachi is ſuppoſed to be Ezra, and called Malachi, becauſe he was the Lords Meſſen­ger.

As for the booke of Heſter, though it be placed after this of Nehemiah, yet is it an Hiſtory of many3 yeares before: for the things therin recorded were in the reigne of Ahaſhuerus,Hoſt. 1. 1. of whom mention is made, Ezr. 4. 6. He ended his daies foureſcore yeares before Nehemiah came to Ieruſalem. The compiler of the bookes of the old Teſtament, had more reſpect of the order of matter then of time in placing Eſter after Nehemiah. For Ezra and Nehe­miah are one continued Hiſtory, which ſets downe the reſtauration of the Iewes after their captivity. Both were written by Ezra, and of old called the firſt and ſecond booke of Eſdras:Apud Hebraeos Eſdrae, Neem­aequeſermones in­unum volumen coartantur. Hie­ron in Eſd. & Neem praeſat. Ezr. 2. 2. 3. 8. yea by the Hebrewes they were both brought into one Volume.

For the foreſaid end of ſetling the State of the Iewes there were three ſolemne commings of three famous perſons to Ieruſalem. The firſt was of Ze­rubbabel, who being a young man laid the founda­tion of the Temple in the reigne of Cyrus, and be­ing an old man finiſhed it in the reigne of Darius. The ſecond was of Ezra, 6. 15. a ready Scribe in the Law of Moſes, 7. 6. whoſe comming was**After the re­turne of the Iews Cyrus raigned nine years, One Da­rius 36. Aha­ſhuerus 22. One Artaxerxes 40. Another Dari­us 19 Another Artaxerxes 7. before Ezra came. Neh. 5. 1. &c. 13. 4. about one hun­dred thirty and three yeares after the firſt, in the ſeventh yeare of Artaxerxes. He came to inſtruct the Iewes in the Law of God. The third was of Nehemiah, thirteene yeares after Ezras. The end of his comming was to build up the City of God and the wall thereof, that Gods people might ther­in more freely obſerve Gods Ordinances, and live in ſafety and ſecurity from their enemies. When he came thither he found many Grievances in the State, and corruptions in the Church. Thoſe he re­dreſſed, theſe he remooved: and withall ſetled4 the Sabbaths Sanctification. Ne. 13. 15, &c.

To ſhew whence he received his courage to doe what he did, notwithſtanding the ſtrong and great oppoſitions againſt him, it is oft noted in this book, that his heart was on his God, to whom on all oc­caſions he preferred his prayer in the beginning, pro­greſſe and end of all.

So ſoone as he heard of an occaſion of going to Ieruſalem,Neh. 1. 4. &c. he made his prayer to God. It was the firſt thing he did. Ever and anone was his heart lift up unto God in the Progreſſe. **Neh. 2. 4. 4. 4. 4. 9. 5. 19. 6. 14. 13. 14. 22. 29.Eight parti­cular inſtances therof betwixt his firſt and laſt pray­er, are expreſly noted in this Hiſtory. This Hi­ſtory is concluded with the ſame prayer that is in my Text.

Thus you ſee how my Text is inſerted in the midſt of this Hiſtory, as a Demonſtration of the Support whereon this Patriot reſted, and whereby he was encouraged in his good, great, difficult, dan­gerous attempts.

May I in this Auditory have leave to give, meo more & modo, after my ordinary and plaine manner, the Grammaticall Interpretation and Logicall Reſo­lution of the Text, a more ready way will be made thereby for raiſing and proſecuting proper Theologi­call Obſervations thereout.

Firſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 therefore of the ſence.

The word tranſlated, Thinke, properly ſignifieth Remember. Neh. 1. 8. 6. 14. 13. 14. 22. 29. 31.So it is in other places tranſlated even by theſe Tranſlators, and that ſix times in this book applyed to God.

It importeth two things.

51. To keepe and hold faſt in mind and memo­ry what is once knowne. So it is oppoſed to for­getfulneſſe: as where the Law ſaith, Remember and Forget not. Deut. 9. 7.

2. To call againe to mind and memory what was once knowne, but after forgotten: in which ſence ſaith Pharaohs Butler,Gen. 41. 9. 40. 23. I doe remember my faults this day. He had forgotten his faults, his impriſon­ment, his dreame, the interpretation and iſſue ther­of (all which are implyed under this phraſe, The chiefe Butler did not Remember Joſeph, but forgat him) But by the wiſe mens ignorance of the mea­ning of Pharaohs dreames, hee remembred and called to mind his faults, and what followed there­upon.

In theſe two reſpects a word derived from this root is put for a Memoriall:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Exod. 28. 12. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Eſt. 6. 1. and for Records: by which matters are ſo kept and retained, as they are not loſt or forgotten: and by which if matters be forgotten they may be againe called to mind, as Mordecais faithfulneſſe to the King being forgot­ten, was by the Kings hearing the Records brought to his mind.

This act of Remembring is in ſacred Scripture ap­plyed to God and man.

To man properly in both the fore-mentioned acceptions. As the two proofes doe ſhew. For to man it was ſaid,Deut. 9. 7. Gen. 41. 9. Remember and forget not: and he was a man that ſaid, I doe remember my faults.

To God it is moſt properly applyed in the for­mer ſignification. For he ever faſt holds in memo­ry6 and never forgets what he once knowes:Act. 15. 18. And knowne unto God are all his workes from the beginning of the world.

Yea, alſo in the latter ſignification it is oft attri­buted to God,Ier. 44. 21. as where it is ſaid, Did not the Lord remember them? and came it not into his minde? The latter phraſe ſheweth that the act of remem­bring attributed to God in the former clauſe, is ment of calling to mind what was formerly known. Iob oft calleth on God to remember him in this ſence. Iob 7, 7. 10, 9. 14, 13. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉In this reſpect God is ſaid to have Remembrancers: to whom he thus ſaith, Put me in Remembrance: and to this end he is ſaid to have a booke of Remem­brance. See Margin on Iſa. 62. 6. Iſa. 43. 26. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Mal. 3. 16〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.But ſurely theſe things cannot be properly ſpoken of God. They are to be taken tropically, by way of reſemblance, after the manner of man. When men having forgotten a friend, neglect him, doe nothing for him, ſuffer him to want, to be op­preſſed, to lye in priſon, or remaine in captivity, but being put in mind that he is ſuch and ſuch a friend, doe good to him and ſuccour him, are ſaid to remember him: So God (when after long ſuf­fering his children to want ſuch and ſuch a bleſſing, or to lye under ſuch and ſuch a croſſe, hee beſtoweth on them the bleſſing which they ſo long waited for or freeth them from the croſſe under which they lay ſo long) though he never forgat them, but knew and ſaw their want and preſſure, is ſaid to remember them. Thus he re­membred Rachell,Gen. 30. 22. Exod. 2. 24. who had long wanted a childe: and the Iſraelites, who had long lien under bon­dage.

7In briefe Nehemiah by this phraſe, Thinke upon or Remember, intendeth that God would ſo deale with him, as he himſelfe might have aſſurance and others evidence, that God did thinke upon what he did and well remember it.

This Petition he makes, not as doubting of Gods good-will to him, but as reſting on God for ſome evidence thereof. For what beleevers expect from God they pray for: and what they pray for, with confidence they expect to receive.

To give further evidence of his ſpeciall aſſiance on God, he reſtraineth this act of Gods good-will to himſelfe in particular,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 by this clauſe, upon me, and it carrieth this Emphaſis, that though the Lord regarded not them who teſtified no hearty affection to himſelf, his houſe or people, yet he would thinke upon him whoſe heart was ſet on all theſe. Thinke on me.

The next clauſe, my God, doth yet further ſet out that his ſpeciall affiance on God. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉My, is an ap­propriating particle: yet ſuch an one as admits o­thers that are of like quality. Nor this, nor the for­mer particle of ſpeciality, nor Me, nor My is to be ta­ken excluſively, as if he exempted all but himſelfe from theſe priviledges, for before this, he deſireth God to think on others like himſelf,Neh. 1. 11. thus, O Lord, I beſeech thee, let now thine care be attentive to the prayer of thy ſervant, and to the prayer of thy ſer­vants who deſire to feare thy name. And thoughaaNeh 28, 18. 6. 14. 7. 5. 13. 14, 15, 29, 31. ſometimes he expreſſe the relation betwixt God and himſelfe in the ſingular number, my God, yetbbNeh. 4, 4, 9, 20. 13. 18, 17 other times in the plurall number, thus, our God,8 yea and in the ſecond and third perſons, thus,ccNeh. 8. 9. your God,ddNeh. 13. 26. his God,eeNeh. 12. 45. their God.

He uſeth the firſt perſon and ſingular number (my God) to teſtifie the full aſſurance he had of his own intereſt in God. He uſeth other perſons and the plurall number (His God, Our God, Your God, Their God) to intimate the ſtrong perſwaſion he had of others like intereſt in God. The former is judici­um certitudinis, an aſſured knowledge: the latter judicium charitatis, a charitable belief. That theſe two may ſtand together is evident by theſe phraſes joyned together,ffRuth. 1. 16. Thy God ſhall be my God:ggIoh. 20. 17. I aſcend to my God and your God.

By the way take notice, that the mention which I made of the ſingular number, hath reſpect to the tranſlation,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉De iſtis decem nominibus lege Hier. Epiſt ad Marcel. See alſo the Churches con­queſt on Exod. 17. 15. Sect. 72. rather then to the originall, eſpecially in the title GOD. For the Hebrew word is one of thoſe ten titles which in ſacred Sacred Scripture are as names attributed to God; and it is of the plu­rall number. As all the other titles have their ſigni­fications and myſteries, ſo this. It importeth a plurality of perſons: yet ſo as in conſtruction it in­timateth an unity,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Verbatim Dij creavit. Gen 1. 1. an unity in nature, the unity of the Deity. For it is joyned with a verbe of the ſin­gular number: as in the firſt ſentence of the Bi­ble, which in other languages may imply ſome Grammaticall incongruity; but it expreſſeth a true Orthodox, Theologicall Myſtery: which God from the beginning would have to be knowne for his owne glory and Churches good. For (even our enemies, worſhippers of falſe gods being Judges) our God is ſuch a God, as no other God could e­ver9 be imagined like unto him. Many of Gods incommunicable properties and workes have (though moſt unjuſtly and falſly) beene attribu­ted to falſe gods, ashhO Pater ô ho­minum,ivumqueaeternae pote,•…Virg. AEneid. 10. eternity,iiTequeomnipo­tens Neptune in­voco, Cic Tuſc. l. 4. omnipotency,kkOvid Met l 1. creation of Heaven and Earth,llOvis nutu & arbitrio coeum, terra, martquereguntur, Cic ac Fin. divine provi­dence, and other the like. But it never came into the mind of any Idolater to imagine his God to be three in one. The Trinity in Vnity is a myſtery of myſteries, making much to the honour of him that is knowne and believed to be ſuch a God.

By it alſo we know and beleeve that the Spirit which proceedeth from the Father and the Son, and helpeth our infirmities, enableth us to doe the will of God and eſtabliſheth us againſt all aſſaults, is true God: and that the Sonne of God, the only begotten of the Father, the Mediatour betwixt God and man, is true God: and that the Father to whom we have acceſſe for all needfull bleſſing, is true God. Thus we have not many gods for many purpoſes; but one God for all turnes. One to enable us to goe to the throne of grace: One to mediate for us there: One to accept us there, all one God. Is not this a comfortable my­ſterie?

But this by the way.

That for which he deſireth his God to thinke up­on him,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉2 Sam. 7 28. 1 Kin. 8. 66. is for good. The Hebrew word properly ſignifieth goodneſse, and is ſo tranſlated in ſun­dry places, oft in the Pſalmes and Prophets. Some therefore here take it for a property in God, and the cauſe or ground of his ſaith and hope, and of all bleſſing: as if he had thus expreſſed it,10 Thinke on me for thy goodneſſe ſake. This is in it ſelfe a good ſence, and anſwerable to this of Da­vid, Remember thou me for thy goodneſse ſake ô Lord. Pſ. 25. 7.But in my Text the particle of relation to God, (Thy) is not expreſt, and the propoſition〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉expreſ­ſed, admits not that ſence. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. In bonum.Therefore the LXX. Greeke Interpreters, the ancient Latine and ſundry other tranſlate it as our Engliſh, for good: in like manner is this very word with this prepoſition tur­ned (Gen. 50. 20. ) unto good. Thus it ſets downe the end why he would have God to thinke on him, namely, ſome good, benefit, bleſſing to himſelfe. That this is here intended, is further evident by that which followes, according to all that I have done, &c.

Looke upon your books and yee will finde this word, according, in another character, which ſhew­eth that it is not in the Originall, as indeed it is not. Some therefore joyne theſe two words,In bonum omni­um quae feci. good, all, together, thus, for good of all that I have done. This expoſition might well ſtand,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Diſtinguit me­diam ſententi­am, & reſpon­det colon. but that there is an accent or pauſe annexed to the former word, which diſtinguiſheth ſentences, or at leaſt the parts of a ſen­tence. Something therefore muſt be underſtood to make up the latter part of this ſentence: and ſure­ly our Engliſh hath hit upon the fitteſt ſupplement, as the ancient Latin,Secundum om­nia. and ſundry other languages. The particle (according) here ſupplied, is oft on like occaſions expreſſed,Pſ. 62. 12. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as where the Pſalmiſt ſaith to God, Thou rendereſt to every man according to his workes. By this ſupplement no merit, but the kind or quality, and meaſure or quantity of reward is11 intended. Gal. 6. 7, 8.In regard of the kinde, whatſoever a man ſoweth, that ſhall he alſo reape. He that ſoweth wheat ſhall reape wheat: he that ſoweth tares ſhall reape tares: He that ſoweth to his fleſh, ſhall of the fleſh reape corruption: but he that ſoweth to the ſpi­rit, ſhall of the ſpirit reape life everlaſting. 2 Cor. 9. 6.In regard of the meaſure, He which ſoweth bountifully ſhall reap bountifully.

Therefore he adds the next generall particle All,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for All compriſeth many things under it, and exclu­deth not any at all.

That which he pleads of his owne doing in this phraſe (that I have done) is not to be taken in refe­rence to his owne ability in and of himſelf:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 but to the manifeſtation of the power of Gods Spirit in him,Zach. 4. 6. 1 Cor 15. 10. which God himſelfe thus expreſſeth, Not by might nor by power, but by my ſpirit, and Saint Paul thus, I have laboured more abundantly then they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

For further amplification of what he did, he ads the perſons in whoſe behalfe he did all that he did, for this people. He meanes hereby the Iewes, a­mong whom he then was, and thereupon as poin­ting at them, he uſeth a double demonſtrative par­ticle, as if to the full it had bin thus expreſſed,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for this people, even this. Well might he ſet this em­phaſis upon that people, becauſe at that time they were the only Church of God,Exod. 19. 5. a peculiar treaſure unto him above all people.

Thus have you the plaine meaning of the Text.

The ſumme of all in two words is,

12Saints Support.

Which is in one word GOD.

This Support of Saints is ſet downe in forme of a Petition.

Therein is expreſſed,

1. The Perſon petitioned.

2. The Point prayed.

The Perſon is ſet out,

1. By his generall title, GOD.

2. By his ſpeciall relation, MY.

In the Point prayed for, ye may obſerve,

1. The Kind

2. The End of it.

The Kinde points at,

1. An Act deſired of God, THINK VPON.

2. The ſpeciall Object thereof, ME.

The End is,

1. Generally propounded, FOR GOOD.

2. Particularly amplified.

In the amplification are diſtinctly ſet downe.

1. The Ground, THAT I HAVE DONE.

2. The Rule, ACCORDING TO.

3. The Extent, ALL.

4. The Reſtraint or Limitation, FOR THIS PEOPLE.

Thinke upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this People.

The Obſervations hence ariſings are theſe.

I. GOD is the Support of Saints. This Saint by directing this his Petition to God, gives inſtance hereof.

II. The LORD is a peculiar GOD to a Belee­ver. 13This appropriating particle, MY, being ut­tered by a beleever in reference to God, evinceth as much.

III. GOD hath Remembrancers. He that ſaid to God, thinke upon or remember, was ſuch an one.

IV. GODS mind is ſoonest drawne to his owne. He that could ſay, my God, was one of Gods owne and thereupon was perſwaded to ſay to his God, thinke upon ME, in confidence that God would ſoon ſo doe.

V. Prayer may be made for ones owne good. This phraſe for good, intends as much.

VI. Workes may be pleaded before GOD. So doth he that in his prayer to God thus pleads, that I have done.

VII. Mans workes are the rule of Gods reward. This is implied by the word fitly ſupplyed, ac­cording.

VIII. Every thing well done ſhall be rewarded. This generall particle All, extends to every good work, and intends ſuch an extent of reward.

IX. Good done to GODS people is moſt accepta­ble. Thus much is manifeſted, as by the expreſſion of this people, ſo by the emphaſis added thereto, this people, even this.

Theſe are the principall intendments of this Text.

That ye may the better diſcerne the true and juſt ground of all theſe points, and eſpecially of this Pa­triots confidence, whereby he was enboldened to put his God in mind, to thinke on him for good ac­cording to all that he had done for his people. I ſup­poſe14 it will not be impertinent, nor yet unprofita­ble to give you a briefe view of ſuch particular acts done by him, as are in this booke diſtinctly ſpecifi­ed from the beginning to my Text. Hereby yee may have a pertinent patterne for Juſtification of what ye have done, and direction for what remains yet to be done: and withall ye may ſee in what courſes and cauſes yee may with confidence de­pend on your God and ſay, Thinke on us our God for good, according to all that we have done for this people.

1. The firſt particular noted of him is an inquiſitive diſpoſition after the State of the Church, how it fared with her. So ſoone as he heard that Hanani and others were come from Iudah,Neh. 1. 2. he asked them concerning the Iewes, and concerning Jeruſa­lem. He himſelfe was in a ſafe and ſecure place: He had the favour of the greateſt Monarch then on Earth: yet he thought not that enough: hee muſt know how the Church doth. By this en­quiry he came to know what otherwiſe, it may be, he ſhould never have knowne: and then the Church might have wanted all that good which he did for it. Ignoti nulla cu­ptilo.What eye ſees not or eare heares not, heart rues not. Naturall men are in a moſt woefull plight: But becauſe they know no­thing of it, they are no whit mooved with it, nor care to ſeeke any redreſſe for it. Ma­ny doe nothing for the Church, becauſe they know nothing of the Church. Be we therefore inqui­ſitive after it.

2. That which he heard of the Churches diſ­treſſe15 wrought much compaſſion in him:Neh. 1. 4. For he ſate down and wept, and mourned certain dayes. By this ſympathy he ſhewes himſelf a true member of the Church. 1 Cor. 12. 26.If one member ſuffer, all the members ſuffer with it. This cannot but beſeem the beſt. For of God himſelf it is thus ſaid,Iud 10. 16. Iſa. 63. 15. Hoſ. 11. 8. His ſoul was grie­ved for the affliction of Iſrael. In ſuch caſes his bow­ells are ſaid to ſound: and his heart to be turned with­in him. Art thou Lord ſo affected, and afflicted at our miſery, and we no whit moved with our own or others diſtreſſes? Amo. 6. 1, &c.Woe, ſaith the Prophet, woe to them that are at eaſe, &c. that stretch themſelvs upon their couches, and eate the Lambs out of the flock: that chant to the ſound of the violl: that drink wine in bowles, and annoint themſelvs with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joſeph. What good can be expected from ſuch ſenceleſſe diſpoſitions? That compaſſion which was wrought in this Patriot, ſet him on work, to do all that good which he did for the Church. Let this mind be in you, which was alſo in him.

3. Before he attempts any thing, he goes to God. Firſt to God, then to the King. I prayed, ſaith he,Neh. 1. 4. before the God of Heaven. This made all that he did ſo ſucceſſefull as it was. Saul, though an hypocrite, could make this apology for his over­haſty ſacrifice,1 Sam. 13. 12. The Philiſtines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made ſupplication to my God. A Love princi­pium.The very Heathen did uſe to begin all with their God. Should not we Chriſtians ſo doe with our God? I am confident ye ſo doe: and thereupon with confidence I may ſay, Go on, and proſper.

164. He added one kind of prayer to another: to his daily, ordinary prayers, he added extraordinary. The phraſe of praying day and night,Neh. 1 6. implies his conſtant morning and evening prayer, wherein he was ever mindfull of the children of Iſrael. His ſu­ſting was an evidence of extraordinary prayer. 4. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉This particle, now, or this day, prefixed before day and night, ſheweth that in this day of extraordinary prayer helped by faſting, he omitted not his ordi­nary morning and evening devotion. Thus much was prefigured in the Law. Ex. 29 38, 39. Num. 28 3. &c. For every day one Lamb was to be offered in the morning, and another at even: on their feaſt dayes they had other ſo­lemn ſacrifices enjoyned, yet ſo as with thoſe ex­traordinary ſacrifices they joyned their daily mor­ning and evening burnt offering. In the 28. and 29. Chapters of Numbers,Numb. 28. 10, 15, 23, 24, 31. & 29, 6, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 38. where thoſe extraordinary ſacrifices on their ſeverall dayes are expreſly ſet down, this proviſo (beſide the continuall burnt offe­ring) is fifteen times repeated. Ordinary and ex­traordinary prayer joyned together, will adde life and power each to other. Ordinary morning pray­er may prove to be a good preparation to the ex­traordinary ordinance: and the evening ordinary prayer a means of calling our failings in the extra­ordinary to mind, of craving and obtaining pardon for the ſame, and procuring a bleſſing in all. As for extraordinary prayer quickned with faſting, it was never performed (if at leaſt it were rightly perfor­med) without ſome more then ordinary bleſſing. That Dvell, which cannot otherwiſe be caſt our, may be caſt out by prayer and faſting. Mat. 17. 21.What therefore17 God hath joyned together, let no man put aſunder.

I might here diſtinctly ſet out the particular branches of his powerfull prayer, as,

1. His ſolemn preamble,Neh. 1. 5. whereby he ſheweth how his mind was ſo fixed on Gods greatneſſe and goodneſſe as it had wrought a mixture of feare and faith.

2. 6.His humble confeſſion of ſinne: of his own ſins, of the ſins of his fathers houſe, yea and of the whole houſe of Iſrael. Pſ 32. 5. Pro. 28. 13. 1 Ioh. 1. 9. Neh. 1. 8, 9.This, penitently done, is the ready way for obtaining mercy and pardon.

3. His preſſing Gods own promiſe, whereby he teſtifieth on what ground his faith was founded.

4. His pleading that ſpeciall relation which was betwixt God and them for whom he prayed, thus, Theſe are thy ſervants, 10. and thy people. By this he gives proof that the mark he aimes at is Gods glory.

5. His putting God in mind of his former dea­ling with them, thus, whom thou haſt redeemed, &c. This ſhews, that by God himſelf, and his former dealing with them, he is put on to commend their cauſe to him.

6. 11.His quickning of his own ſpirit, by his earneſt, ardent expreſſion of his mind.

But it being my purpoſe only to cull out ſuch diſtinct acts of his as moved him to put God in mind of him for good, it might hinder my purpoſe to inſiſt on every particular circumſtance in thoſe ſeverall acts, that are recorded of him.

I return therfore to my principall purpoſe.

5. His heart was ready on the ſudden to be rai­ſed to God. For when the King gave him occaſion18 to make his mind knowne to him,Neh. 2. 4. he inſtantly pray­ed to the God of Heaven: Not by turning aſide and uttering any words to God, but by lifting up his heart to God. This is called an ejaculation of the ſpirit: when the ſpirit within a man caſteth up a ſudden deſire to God. This ſudden deſire might be, that God would direct him in ordering his de­ſire to the King, and that God would encline the Kings heart to grant his deſire. So much was be­fore thus expreſſed, Grant me mercy in the ſight of this man, meaning the King. This may be as fer­vent and prevalent, as a ſolemne prayer uttered with the mouth, witneſſe that ejaculation of Moſes ſpirit, when he was in the middeſt of the people, and en­couraging them againſt Pharaohs furious hoſte that hotly purſued them: He then uttered no words of prayer, yet of that ejaculation, or inward deſire, ſaith God,Exod. 14. 15. why crieſt thou unto me? which phraſe implyeth great fervency. This frequently and heartily uſed argueth an heavenly mind, and holy familiarity with God. This is one way whereby we may pray alway, continually, even by the readi­neſſe of the heart to pray at all times, in all places, on all occaſions, when we are alone, or in compa­ny, in conference, reading, ſtudying, working, or doing any other lawfull thing. Thus may I now in preaching, pray: thus may you even now in hearing, pray. Aſſuredly, if we were well diſpo­ſed hereunto, we might have much better ſucceſſe in many things we doe, then we have. What good ſucceſſe had this Patriot hereupon? God mooved the King to grant whatſoever he deſired. Neh. 2. 8.In ſen­ding,19 in delivering Petitions to the King on earth, Pray to the GOD of Heaven, as Nehemiah did.

6. Together with all ſorts of prayer to God,Neh. 2. 5. he uſeth humane helps. He gratefully acknowledgeth the Kings former favour: 7. He humbly ſupplica­teth leave to goe to Iudah: 8. he deſireth a ſafe con­voy: he craveth the Kings Letters patent for all uſefull and needfull Timber out of his Forreſts. All theſe were lawfull meanes: and ſuch meanes are the hand of Gods providence, whereby hee bringeth matters to paſſe. It is true indeed, that man liveth not by bread alone:Deut. 8. 3. meanes alone with­out Gods bleſſing doe no good. Aſaes fault con­ſiſted not ſimply in this,2 Chr. 16. 12. that in his diſeaſe he ſought to the Phyſitians, but in this, that he ſought not to the Lord A woe is denounced againſt thoſe that take counſell,Iſa. 30. 1. 31. 1. but not of the Lord, and that cover with a covering, but not of his Spirit. But true alſo it is, that where meanes are meet to be uſed, God will not bring matters to paſſe without meanes. In the great danger wherein Paul, and all in the Ship with him were, God promiſed that there ſhould be no loſſe of any mans life among them: yet when the Ship-men (who are an eſpeciall meanes of helpe in feare of wreck) were about to fly out of the Ship, Paul ſaid, except theſe abide in the Ship, ye cannot be ſa­ved. It will therefore be our wiſdome to obſerve in the matters that we enterprize, what lawfull meanes may be helpefull thereto, and with prayer to uſe the ſame. By uſing meanes without prayer we preſume: by praying without the uſe of means we tempt God.

207. He goes himſelf to the place where he inten­ded to doe good. Neh. 2, 11.I came to Ieruſalem, ſaith he. The deſire that he had to have the worke throughly don, moved him to goe himſelfe about it, and not to put it off to others. If men of place and power, who wiſh well to Church and State, were ſo min­ded, there would not be ſo many miſcarriages in weighty matters,2 King 4 30. as oft fal out. The Shunamite would not leave the Prophet, till he himſelfe went to her childe. His ſervant went with his ſtaffe, but effe­cted nothing; When he himſelfe came, the deed was ſoone done. A difference betwixt a Gentle­man that holdeth his land in his owne hands, and ſcarſe raiſeth up ſo much as the ordinary rent amounts to, and the Farmer, who beſide the rent, raiſeth up a good livelihood, herein lyeth; That the Gentleman lying in bed, or following his pleaſures, ſaith to his ſervants, Goe Sirs, intending that they ſhould goe about his worke: But the Farmer ſaith, Gaw Sirs,Oculus Domini paſcit equum. that is, Goe we, together, or goe with me. This Proverbe, the eye of the Maſter makes the horſe fat, intendeth as much. This may be a good patterne to you Governours, to us Miniſters, and to all that have the charge of matters of mo­ment.

8. He himſelfe taketh an eſpeciall view of the ruines of Ieruſalem. Neh. 2. 13.I went out by night, ſaith he, and viewed the wals of Jeruſalem, which were broken downe, &c. He had heard thereof before: but now he was an eye-witneſſe; and this increaſed his com­paſſion, enflamed his zeale, and ſtirred him up more diligently and throughly to repaire the ru­ines,21 and make up the breaches which he had ſeen with his owne eyes. Sight of diſtreſſe is of great force to worke on the affections, and to procure ſuccour. Luk. 10. 33.The Samaritan who came where the wounded man was,Tu deſceude iudaginis ſtu­dio, ne quid ſit quod ſallat, aut lateat. Ambx. de Pateiach. Abr l. 1. c. 6. and ſaw him, had compaſſion on him, and ſuc­coured him. Doe ye likewiſe what ye can, to take ſpeciall notice of the particular caſes of ſuch as are in diſtreſſe, that nothing beguile you, nothing be concealed from you. Goe to priſons, viſit the ſicke, caſt your eyes on miſerable objects.

9. He puts others in mind of that which he and they ſaw:Neh. 2. 17. and ſtirres them up thereby to be aſſiſtant to him, in theſe words, ye ſee the diſtreſſe that we are in, &c. Come, and let us build up the wall, &c. This he did to ſtirre up ſuch a ſpirit in many others, as he himſelfe had, and to obtaine their help: that ſo the great worke might the better goe on. For many hands make light worke. Multorum ma­nibus grande le­vatur onus.The fruit and benefit hereof is diſtinctly ſet down in the third Chapter. Where­fore thinke it not enough (in great matters, which of and by your ſelves ye cannot to purpoſe accom­pliſh) think it not enough to doe, even to the utter­moſt what lyes in your owne power: ſtir up others to be aiding and aſſiſting to you. This juſtifies your Proteſtation, your Subſidies, Pole-money, Land­rate, Loanes, and other meanes uſed for aſſiſtance from others in the weighty works you have in hand.

10. He manifeſteth invincible courage againſt ſuch adverſaries as ſought to blaſt all his good in­tents and endeavours. Neh. 2. 19 20.When Sanballat and others laughed them to ſcorne, and deſpiſed them, he with a confident ſpirit ſaid, The God of Heaven he will pro­ſper22 us; Therefore we his ſervants will ariſe and build. Behold his courage, behold the ground thereof. We will ariſe and build. O undaunted Spirit! God will proſper us: a ſure and ſafe ground. If in any thing ye imitate this Patriot, herein imitate him. Be not diſcouraged by adverſaries. 1 Cor. 16. 9.Where God openeth a great and effectuall doore to his ſervants, there will be many adverſaries:Phil. 1. 28. But in nothing be terrified by them: and that ye may in nothing be terrified by them, ſo place your confidence on God, as ye may in faith ſay, The God of Heaven he will proſper us.

The third Chapter diſtinctly deſcribeth the aſſi­ſtance that was afforded by others in fencing the City, and is an expreſſe demonſtration of the bene­fit of helpers, ſet downe in the ninth branch. I there­fore paſſe over this Chapter, that I may haſten to my Text.

11. In an holy zeale, and juſt indignation, he im­precates vengeance againſt proud, ſcornfull, im­placable enemies of Gods Church, in this manner, Turne their reproach upon their owne head,Neh. 4. 4. and give them for a prey in the land of their captivity, and cover not their iniquity, &c. I muſt confeſſe that the im­precations of holy men recorded in ſacred Scrip­ture, are ſharp, two edged tooles: not for every ones handling. When Chriſts Diſciples would have commanded fire (as Eliah did) to come downe from Heaven to conſume the Samaritans,Luk. 9. 54. 55. he rebuked them, and ſaid, Ye know not what manner of ſpirit ye are of. Particular imprecations againſt particular perſons are not for every ſpirit; but for ſuch extraordinary ſpirits, as Prophets and Apoſtles had: Yet thus23 farre may every faithfull ſpirit teſtifie his holy zeal in this very kind of imprecation, by an indefinite extending it againſt ſuch as are indeed miſchievous and irreconcileable enemies of the Church. But becauſe Saul may prove a Paul, and a perſecutor may prove a preacher of the Goſpell, we may not imprecate againſt any particular perſons, yet againſt their miſchievous practiſes we may.

12. Them whom he incited to aſſiſt him, he en­couraged, and that by the ſame ground of encou­ragement whereby he himſelfe was encouraged. He was encouraged by his confidence on God;Neh. 2. 20. 4. 14. and thus he encourageth others, Be not ye afraid of them, remember the Lord, who is great and terrible. To ſuch a purpoſe tends this of the Apoſtle,2 Cor. 1. 4. God comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we our ſelves are comforted of God. Ye that are ſtrong, doe what ye can to ſtrengthen others: Ye whoſe ſpirits are lofty and ſteddy, lift up and hold up the ſpirits of others: put courage into others, ye that are men of courage. This was Chriſts advice to Peter,Luk. 22. 32. When thou art converted, ſtrengthen thy bre­thren, &c.

13. In an extraordinary caſe he uſeth extraordi­nary diligence and vigilancy. Neh. 4. 8, 11, 12The manifold miſ­chievous plots of their adverſaries ſhewed their danger to be more then ordinary. Ver. 0, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23.In this caſe, he ſet a watch againſt them day and night: One halfe of his ſervants wrought in the worke, the other halfe held of­fenſive and defenſive weapons. Every workeman wrought with one hand, and with another held a weapon,24 they had a trumpet to draw them all to the place of dan­ger; they daily watched from the riſing of the Morning till the Starres appeared: none of them put off their cloathes, ſaving that every one put them off for waſhing. Is not now the more then ordinary paines, watch­ing, looſing meales meat, defenſive proviſion, and diligence uſed by our Parliament, is it not every way warrantable and commendable? Have we any cauſe to complaine thereof? Have we not juſt cauſe to bleſſe God therefore?

14. He redreſſes home-grievances. He thought it not enough to ſecure the City from publike ene­mies, unleſſe alſo he eaſed the common people from the oppreſſion of their Governours. Neh. 5. 1, &c.For there was a great cry of the people and of their wives, againſt their brethren the Iewes, who were Governours, and had power over them. The particulars of their com­plaints are expreſly related. 6, &c.This good Patriot heares them all, is much offended at the wrong­doers, adviſeth about redreſſe, and ſo orders the matter, that for the wrong done, reſtitution and ſatis­faction is made; and for the future, order is taken that there be no more ſuch grievances.

Ye that juſtly have obtained the name of good Patriots, and have begun to redreſſe many grievan­ces, goe on in that good worke, till through Gods bleſſing and your endeavours it be brought to ſome good perfection, as Nehemiah's was. Heare com­plaints, receive Petitions, examine Accuſations, pu­niſh Delinquents, cauſe reſtitution of that which is uniuſtly taken away, and ſatisfaction for that which is wrongfully done, to be made.

25Ye are now the great Judges of this land:Iudex & Ara idem: pariter enim ad utrūqueconfugiunt qui inturia afficiū­tur. Archite dict. Iob 29. 12. and of old it was ſaid, that the Altar and Iudge are as one, in that ſuch as are wronged fly to the one and the other for ſuccor. Such was Iobs practiſe. I delivered, ſaith he, the poore that cryed, and the fatherleſse, and him that had none to help him. Remembrance hereof much comforted him againſt his friends unjuſt ca­lumnies in the depth of his great miſeries.

15. He relieved ſuch as were in diſtreſſe. It was not a pharaſaicall brag, but a knowne truth, which he thus profeſſeth of himſelfe,Neh. 5. 8. We after our ability have redeemed our brethren, &c. To him it ſeemed not ſufficient to redreſſe the wrongs which others had done, and to take off the heavy burdens which others had laid upon the backs of their poore brethren (which was a great privitive good) unleſſe alſo poſitively be relieved with money, corne, and other neceſſaries, and that gratis, ſuch as were in need.

Hereby we ſee how farre our works of mercy ought to extend. This to the life is thus exempli­fied by a Prophet,Iſa. 58. 6, 7. in the name of the Lord: Is not this the Faſt that I have choſen, to looſe the bands of wic­kedneſse, to undoe the heavy burdens, and to let the op­preſſed goe free, and that ye breake every yoake? (Though this be moſt properly meant of redreſſing ſuch wrongs, as men themſelves doe, yet may it alſo be extended to redreſſing the wrongs which others do; but for the point which we have in hand, marke what followes) Is it not to breake thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are caſt out, to thy houſe, &c. This is the extent of charity.

2616. He brought them to a ſolemne covenant and oath to binde them to that good order that he had made,Neh. 5 12. leſt they ſhould ſtart from it. It is thus ex­preſſed, I tooke an oath of them that they ſhould doe ac­cording to their promiſe. (Their promiſe was this, We will reſtore them, and will require nothing of them: ſo will we doe as thou ſayeſt.) Yea he made a terrible im­precation againſt every one that performed not this promiſe. He feared leaſt in his abſence, when he ſhould in the time limited returne to the King, they would returne to their former exactions and oppreſ­ſions. Therefore he would hereby reſtraine them. A pious and prudent courſe. The like courſe we read to be taken by Aſa, who bound his people by Co­venant and Oath to remaine faithfull with the Lord. 2 Chr. 15 12. &c.

This is the rather to be noted for juſtification and commendation of the courſe which both Houſes of Parliament have taken, about bringing moſt of this Land into a ſolemne Covenant. The Lord make men faithfull in keeping it, and give a happy iſſue thereto.

17. For the peoples good in their neceſſity he remitted of his own right. For he was by the King appointed a Governour; and Governours had allow­ances due to them, which former Governours had taken: By reaſon hereof they were chargeable to the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beſide forty ſhekels of ſilver (that is,Neh. 5. 14, 15. Siclus S Scrip­turae pōderabat ſtateremunum, ſeu ſemiunciam Shind. five pounds ſterling; for a ſhekell is halfe an ounce, which makes two ſhil­lings ſixe pence: They exacted the foreſaid bread and wine, that is, all manner of proviſion,27 (**〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Poſt argeti fi­clos, poſl quam accepiſsent ab eis 40 ſiclos ar­genti, olim con­ſtituros ancibus pro victu ſuo. Vatabl Summumius ſumma tniuria. Ci. Offic l & Orat pro Mur. beſide the forty ſhekels, which was their ſet al­lowance) But, ſaith he, from the time that I was appoin­ted to be their Governour, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the Governour. He renders this rea­ſon hereof, becauſe of the feare of God.

They therefore that feare the Lord will be like minded: they will not over-ſtrictly ſtand upon their right, eſpecially in times of neceſſity, and caſes of extremity. Over-ſtrict ſtanding upon right may prove a great oppreſſion.

18. He, though a Governour, did beare a part in that which he required others to doe. I alſo, ſaith he, continued in the worke of the wall:Neh 5. 16. neither bought we any Land: and all my ſervants were gathered thither unto the worke. He had done much for them through the Kings favour to him,Neh. 2. 8. and through that power and authority which the King had given him: For he obtained for them as much timber as was need­full out of the Kings Forreſt: He drew on others that were able to help on the building of the wals: He made ſpeciall proviſion for their ſecurity againſt their adverſaries: He did many other good turnes for them; yet ſo long as there remained any thing which might further be done by him or his, all that he had done, though it were much, ſeemed to him too little.

A worthy patterne this is to ſuch as have done much good, to obſerve whether yet there be any thing wherein they may doe more good,Gal. 6. 9. Let us not be weary in well doing.

19. Rom 12. 13. 1 Pet. 4. 9. Neh. 5. 17.He was given to Hoſpitality, and uſed it with­out grudging. For there were at his Table one hun­dred28 and fifty of the Jewes and Rulers, beſides thoſe that came unto them from among the Heathen. So as he entertained all of all ſorts:Heb. 13. 2. ſuch as had their habitations thereabouts, and ſuch as were ſtrangers and came out of other countries. Thus he made his entertainment not onely a worke of courteſie in af­fording it to Neighbours and Rulers, who might have provided for themſelves: but alſo of charity in extending it to ſtrangers. How bountifull he was therein is made evident by the daily proviſion prepared for thoſe purpoſes, as one Oxe, ſix choice Sheepe: alſo Foules once in ten daies, and ſtore of all ſorts of wine. Hoſpitality to ſtrangers as well as others,Gen. 18. 1, &c. 19. 1. &c. Heb. 13. 2. Mat. 25. 34, 35. is ſo acceptable to God, as he ſent An­gels with bleſſed tydings to be gueſts to ſuch per­ſons: and Chriſt reckons up this worke of charity in ſpeciall and by name among thoſe which he doth moſt abundantly recompence.

I will conclude this particular with that exhorta­tion which Chriſt gave upon anothers act of Hoſ­pitality,Luk. 10. 37. Goe and doe likewiſe.

20. Whatſoever hee did, hee did in reſpect to God. Hee expected no reward from man: nor did he propound any bie-ends to himſelfe: nor did any thing on bie-reſpects. My Text gives a plain demonſtration hereof. For therby we ſee that his mind was fixed on his God. On God he cals to think upon him, from God he expects his reward for all that he had done. How many Nehemiahs, how many good and zealous Patriots would this and o­ther Kingdomes have, if we had many men of place and parts ſo minded? Every one that minds God29 in every good thing that he doth, and expects his reward from him, in ſuch a way, after ſuch a man­ner as Nehemiah did, may with like confidence ſay to God, Thinke on me my GOD for good, accor­ding to all that I have done for this people.

By this recollection of the principall acts of this Patriot, you ſee what remarkable matters he did: what difficulties and dangers hee paſſed thorow, what encouraged and emboldned him to ſtand a­gainſt ſo many, mighty, malignant adverſaries as he met withall, and what was the happy iſſue of all. Hereby alſo you may further ſee what be­comes worthy Patriots to doe:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(virtutem intelligit) 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. Heſiod. what dangers and difficulties they may meet withall: (for what ex­cellent worke is not environed with many difficul­ties, yea and dangers too?) with what courage and conſtancy they ought to ſtand againſt malig­nant parties: on whom they may ſecurely place their confidence: and on what ground any one may ſay, Thinke on me, my GOD, for good, ac­cording to all that I have done for this people.

Thus have I brought you againe to my Text: which (as you heard before) affords many conſide­rable Obſervations. So much time hath bin ſpent in ſetting out the patterne of a worthy Patriot, as there can be no expectation of handling all the nine Doctrines collected out of this Text. The firſt is the chiefeſt of all and comprizeth the pith of all the reſt within it. May I have liberty and ability to touch upon it, I will give place to my reverend Brother, that with greater ſtrength may hold out the ſolemnization of this daies humiliation.

30The firſt Obſervation is this,

God is the Support of Saints.

1. He is a Support, becauſe he is God.

2. He is ſo to Saints, becauſe he is a peculiar God to them.

3. Saints know it to be ſo, in that they are Gods Remembrancers, and call upon him to thinke upon them.

4. Saints with more confidence reſt on God for Support, becauſe his mind is ſooneſt drawne to them: whereupon every Saint ſaith to God, thinke upon me.

5. Their expectation of good from God further ſhewes, that they take him for their Sup­port.

6. Their pleading of their workes before God, gives further proofe to the point.

7. The rather in that their works are the rule ac­cording to which God rewards them.

8. And in that he rewardeth every good worke of theirs.

9. And finally, in that God hath moſt and beſt reſpect to that which is done to his people.

Thus you ſee how the eight ſubſequent Doctrins have an eye to the firſt: ſo as I had cauſe to ſay, that the firſt compriſeth the pith of all the reſt within it. I come now directly and diſtinctly to handle it by it ſelf. It is this,

God is the Support of Saints.

Many, many Epithites attributed to him in ſa­cred Scripture, are as ſo many proofs of the point: ſuch as theſe,aaPſ. 14 6. Refuge,bb 31. 2. Houſe of defence,** 6 13. Shelter,31ccPſ 18. 2. Fortreſse, high Tower, Buckler, Rocke,dd 119 114. Hiding place,eeIſa 49. 26. Saviour, Redeemer,ffPſ. 40 17. Delivergg 54. 4. Helper,hhHeb. 11. 6. Re­warder, yeaiiPſ. 27. 1. Salvation,kk1 Cor. 1. 30. Redemption,llPſ 115. 9. Help,mmGen. 15. 1. Ex­ceeding great Reward. Theſe latter Epithites being in the abſtract (whereby is ſhewed that all Salva­tion, Redemption, Helpe and Reward ariſe only and wholy from him) add much Emphaſis to the point.

There are two eſpeciall grounds thereof.

1. Saints taking God to be their Support.

2. Gods undertaking to bee to his Saints, what they take him to be.

To him on all occaſions they have recourſe for Support: and He anſwerably ſupporteth them that have recourſe to him. He never faileth them that ſeek him.

Three things move Saints to take God for their Support.

1. The many enemies and dangers whereunto they are here ſubject. This world is a wilderneſſe of wild and ravenous Beaſts. All ſorts of wicked men are thoſe wild and ravenous Beaſts: they are as Lyons, Tigers, Bears, Wolves, and ſuch like. Saints are as Sheepe and Lambes. In alluſion here­unto ſaith Chriſt,Mat. 10. 16. Behold I ſend you forth as Sheepe in the midſt of Wolves. This their condition in this world makes them ſeeke for a Support.

2. Their owne manifold infirmities by reaſon of the fleſh which they carry about them. They are (to uſe the woman of Tekoahs phraſe) as water ſpilt upon the ground,2 Sam. 14. 14. which cannot be gathered up again: or to uſe a more pertinent compariſon, They are as32 a Vine full of moſt ſweet and uſefull fruit, yet ſo weake, as it cannot ſtand of it ſelf, without a frame, or ſome other ſupport to beare it up. The weake­neſſe of Saints makes them ſeek for a ſtrong ſupport: which they know God to be.

3. The impotency and diſability of any creature to helpe and ſupport them. Ezek. 20. 6, 7.All creatures are as reeds, weake, brickle, full of teeth: if they be lea­ned upon they will ſoone breake and teare the fleſh of ſuch as leane upon them. So as it is not onely unuſefull and in vaine, but alſo dangerous and da­mageable to reſt on meere creatures for a ſup­port.

More then three things move God to be for his Saints, what they take him to be: as

1. That ancient love which of his owne good­will he did beare to them before they were, yea be­fore the worlds were. This doth the Apoſtle lay downe as the ground of all thoſe ſpirituall bleſſings wherewith God bleſſeth us, Eph. 1. 3, 4, 5, 6. This he makes the ground of Gods quickning us toge­ther with Chriſt,Eph. 2. 4, 5, 6. and of his raiſing us up together, and making us ſit together in heavenly places in Chriſt Ieſus.

2. 1 Cor 6. 20 1 Pet. 1. 19. Heb. 9. 12That price which the Sonne of God hath paid for them, which was his own precious blood. Here­by he obtained eternall redemption for them.

3. Rom. 8 34. Heb 7. 25.That continuall interceſſion which he maketh for them at the right hand of his Father. Hereby hee procureth continuance of Gods favour to them.

4. That ſtamp or impreſſion of Gods image, which the Holy Ghoſt hath ſet in them,Eph 1 13. 4 30. and wher­by33 by they are ſealed unto the day of Redemption: Here­by God knoweth them to be his.

5. The many promiſes which God hath made to them of caring and providing for them, and of protecting them from all dangers and evils,Heb. 10. 23. and faithfull is he who hath promiſed.

6. Their faith in reſting upon thoſe promiſes. This makes them put God in mind thereof, as He did,Pſ. 119. 49. who thus ſaid, Remember thy word (meaning his word of promiſe) upon which thou haſt cauſed me to hope.

This Act of Saints in taking God for their ſup­port is an evidence of that wiſedome and prudence wherein God,1 Information in the wiſdom of Saints who take God for their ſupport. Eph. 1. 7, 8. according to the riches of his grace, hath abounded towards them. For ſuch as are not a­ble to ſtand of themſelves, to ſeeke a Support, and ſuch an one as of it ſelfe can ſufficiently ſupport them, ſo as they need ſeeke to no others, is queſti­onleſſe an eſpeciall part of prudence. But ſuch a ſup­port the Lord is. For

1. 1 Chr. 19 9.The eyes of the Lord runne to and fro through­out the whole Earth to ſhew himſelfe ſtrong in the behalfe of them, whoſe heart is perfect towards him: ſo as he is not, he cannot be ignorant of the needs or diſtreſſes of any of his Saints. Exod. 3. 7.I have ſurely ſeen the affliction of my People, ſaith the Lord.

2. As the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,1 Pet. 3. 12. ſo his eares are open to their prayers. What cry ſoe­ver they make to him in their diſreſſe for ſuccour and ſupport, he heareth.

3. He is ready and forward to doe what he ſe­eth to be needfull and uſefull for them, I know their34 ſorrowes, and I am come downe to deliver them, ſaith the Lord to his people that were in diſtreſſe. Ma­ny promiſes hath he made for granting their de­ſires. Pſal. 50. 15.The more to ſet out Gods forwardneſſe in granting his Saints deſires,Dan. 9. 23. an Angell ſent from God to Daniel while he was praying, thus ſaith, At the beginning of thy ſupplication the Commandement came forth,Iſa. 65. 24. &c. and the Lord himſelfe, thus, be­fore they call I will anſwer, and whiles they are yet ſpeaking I will heare.

4. Pſal. 86. 15. Ier. 31. 20.He is full of compaſſion: in ſo much as his bowels are troubled for his children when they are in any diſtreſſe: thereupon he maketh this inference, I will ſurely have mercy upon them. Nothing ſoo­ner moves any to ſuccour and ſupport, then com­paſſion. It is oft noted to be the cauſe of that ready ſuccour which Chriſt in the daies of his fleſh affor­ded to all that came to him, that he had compaſſion on them,Mat. 14. 14. 15 30. ark. 1. 41. and was moved therewith.

5. Hee is able to ſupport his in their greateſt weakneſſes,Eph. 7. 13. and to deliver them out of their great­eſt diſtreſſe. Behold (ſaith the Lord) I am the Lord the God of all fleſh. Ier. 32. 27. Luk. 18. 27.Is there any thing too hard for me? The things which are unpoſſible with men are poſſible with God.

6. As God is might in ſtrength, ſo in wiſedome. His underſtanding is infinite. Iob 36. 5. Pſal. 147. 5.He beſt knoweth when to ſupport his and how: yea and how long to con­tinue his ſupport to them. If at any time he ſeeme to leave them to themſelves, he doth it purpoſely, prudently, for good ends to good uſes. And even then when he ſuffers them to lye under afflictions, he35 ſo wiſely ſupporteth them, as they are enabled to en­dure it, and are not overburdened: Witneſſe he that ſaid, We are troubled on every ſide, yet not diſtreſſed; we are perplexed,2 Cor. 4. 8, 9. but not in deſpaire; perſecuted, but not for­ſaken; caſt downe, but not deſtroyed: Yea through his wiſedome (as at first he commanded the light to ſhine out of darkneſse,2 Cor. 4. 6. ſo) he bringeth much good to Saints out of their troubles. For we know that all things worke together for good to them that love God. This by good experience he found to be true in himſelfe,Pſal. 119. 7. who ſaid, It is good for me that I have been afflicted.

Theſe conſiderations of the notice that God hath of his peoples ſtate and caſe, of his hearing their prayers, of his forwardneſſe to grant their deſires, of his compaſſion at their diſtreſſe, of his power and ability to help, and of his wiſedome in ordering the ſeaſon and manner of ſuccour: Theſe and other like conſiderations give a cleare and evident demonſtra­tion, that God is a ſafe, ſure, and ſecure ſupport, whereby the wiſedome of Saints is manifeſted in taking him for their ſupport. In this therefore re­ſpect, as in many others,Deut 4. 6. it may be ſaid of them, Surely this is a wiſe and understanding people.

On the other ſide,2 Demonſtra­tion of their folly who take not God for their ſupport. it muſt needs be a part of egre­gious folly and plaine dotage, to confide in, or truſt unto any other ſupport then this God. Yet moſt in the world are ſuch doting fooles: As,

1. Pſal. 14. 1.Atheiſts, who ſay in their hearts there is no God. Surely they who deny him to be, will not reſt on him for ſupport.

2. Pagans, who being ignorant of the one onely36 true God, place their confidence on ſuch things as never were, never had any true being, but were meere phantaſies and imaginations of mens vaine braine. Such as Baalim, Aſhteroh, Dagon, Mo­lech, and ſuch other as are mentioned in ſacred Scripture: And Iupiter, Iuno, Apollo, Diana, Mer­cury, Venus, and multitudes of the like reckoned up by the heathen. Heſiod in Osoyor.One of their Poets reckoneth up about thirty thouſand of them: Others more.

3. Purch. Pilgr. of Aſia, l. 4. c. 1.Indian Savages, who make the Devil their ſupport, and adore him, that he may not hurt them and their cattell. A part of their countrey is called Terra Diaboli, the Devils Land. To retort upon theſe in their owne kinde, Not onely no hurt, but good, is to bee expected from ſuch as are adored, as it is in my Text, Thinke upon me for good.

4. Papiſts, who make the innumerable company of Angels, the bleſſed Virgin Mary, Apostles, Con­feſſors, Martyrs, and all that their Popes have cano­nized: Whereof ſome may be accounted, ſuch as the forementioned Gods of the Pagans, meere phan­taſies and imaginations; and others, without breach of charity, may be judged to be damned wretches in Hell.

5. Worldlings, who reſt on mortall men, and earthly meanes, which are all like to the foremen­tioned weake reed full of teeth. Iſa. 31. 1.The Prophet de­nounceth a woe againſt ſuch.

6. 2 Sam. 16. 21. and 17. 1, &c. 1 Sam. 17. 8. &c.Self-boaſters, who truſt to themſelves, to their owne parts, or to that command which they have over others: As Achitophel who relyed on his own wit;Iſa. 10. 8, &c. Goliah on his owne ſtrength; the Aſſyrian on37 the great command which he had: ſo others to other things; all which turne to their ruine.

Of all theſe, and others like to theſe, I may, con­cerning the caſe in hand, take up the Prophets pa­theticall Exclamation,Ier. 2. 12, 13. Be aſtoniſhed, O ye Heavens at this and be ye horribly afraid, be ye very deſolate, ſaith the Lord: For my people have committed two evils; they have forſaken me the fountaine of living waters, and hewed them out ciſternes, broken cisternes that can hold no water.

As for you that have been ſo farre enlightened as to know God to be the onely ſure and ſafe ſup­port,3 Exhortation to uſe God as a Support. and thereupon have been moved to take him for your ſupport, be now further in the name of this God exhorted, to uſe him as a ſupport. Uſe him as a Refuge, Shelter, Houſe of Defence, Fortreſſe, high Tower, Buckler, Shield, Rock, Hiding place. Theſe re­ſemblances will affoord good help for making a right uſe of the Lord in this very point, as he is a ſupport to his Saints.

1. A refuge is a place for ſuch as are in danger to fly unto for ſuccour and ſecurity. Such were the Ci­ties of Refuge among the Jewes. When a man was unjuſtly ſuſpected of wilfull murder, and hotly pur­ſued by the avenger of bloud, he made all the ſpeed he could to the City of Refuge. There was his cauſe rightly judged, there might he be ſecure. Doe you alſo fly to God in all undue ſuſpicions and un­juſt accuſations. In him you may be ſure to have your cauſe righted, and your perſons ſecu­red.

2. A Shelter is for ſuch as in their journey are over­taken38 taken with ſhowres of rain, with haile, ſnow, ſtorm or tempeſt: In ſuch caſes, if a traveller eſpy a ſhelter, he will make haſte to it. God hath undertaken to be a covert from storme and raine. Iſa. 4 6.When the raging raine of oppreſſion, or ſtorme of perſecution, or violent tempeſt of any malignant oppoſition fals upon you, ſhelter your ſelves under the covert of your God.

3. An Houſe of Defence, or Caſtle, or Fortreſſe, or High Tower, are all for ſafety againſt armies of ene­mies that compaſſe us about, and beſiege us, and would utterly deſtroy us, if we had not ſuch a place of ſafety. Now the Lord is indeed an high and ſtrong Tower, an impregnable Caſtle: abide there­fore in him, and feare not, though multitudes of enemies doe on every ſide ſet againſt you. They are ſafe whom the Lord doth keep.

4. A Buckler or Shield is of ſingular uſe to keep off puſh of pike, ſtroake of ſword, force of dart, arrow or bullet that ſhall be flung, or ſhot againſt us: So faith in God will keep off all aſſaults of Satan, even all the fiery darts of the Devill;Eph. 6. 16. much more the furious, envious, and malicious words and deeds of wicked men.

5. A Rocke is a firme and ſure foundation. An edifice that is well erected and ſetled on it, cannot be overthrowne. Mat 7 24, 25.Though the raine deſcend and the flouds come, and the wind blow, and beat upon that houſe, yet it fals not becauſe it is founded on a rock. For appli­cation of this Metaphor, note what Chriſt ſaith of himſelfe as he is a rocke:Mat 16. 18. Vpon this rocke will I build my Church, and the gates of hell ſhall not prevaile againſt it.

39Againe, a rock being in the Sea remains immove­able: The ſtrongeſt tempeſts and violenteſt waves of the Sea cannot ſhake it, much leſſe overthrow it. If therefore any who have ſuffered ſhipwracke lye floating on the Sea, and eſpye a rocke, they will make to it: ſo in our greateſt troubles, and moſt deſ­perate dangers, let us get to God the rocke of our ſalvation, and we may be ſure to be ſafe.

6. An hiding place, is that wherein in many beaſts doe repoſe themſelves on all occaſions: As a Connies burrow, a Foxes hole, a Lyons den: when they are there they thinke themſelves ſafe: There therefore they uſe to ſleep; there they uſe to carry the prey they get, and there to eat it: if they be hunted, or fear any danger, they wil make thither as faſt as they can: If they be hurt or wounded, there they uſe to licke themſelves whole: yea in theſe their hiding places they die for the moſt part, if at leaſt they be not ſurpriſed, and kild when they are out of their den or hiding place. Seeing it pleaſeth the Holy Ghoſt to attribute unto God this reſemblance ofPſal. 119. 114. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 ſafety (For the Pſalmiſt ſtileth God his hiding place: and the Prophet a covert) give me leave in Chriſts phraſe to ſay unto you,Latibulū meum. Iſa 4. 6. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Behold the beaſts of the field: Behold them in this particular,Abſcontio. and uſe God your hiding place, as they uſe their holes and dennes. On all occaſions repoſe your ſelves on him, and reſt ſecure in him when ye ſleep, when ye wake. Have ye good ſucceſſe in your affairs? (as the beaſt thinks he hath when he gets a prey) goe to God to re­joyce in him, and to give the praiſe to him. Doe thy affaires ſucceed ill? even then alſo goe to God, to40 mourne in him, to powre out thy ſoule into his bo­ſome. Art thou hunted or perſecuted? fly to God for ſuccour and protection. Art thou abu­ſed, wronged, or hurt? To God for redreſſe and right. In peace and trouble, in hope and feare, in ſafety and danger, in all caſes, on all occaſions have recourſe to God, live in God, die in God.

Doe this the rather, becauſe as followeth in the next obſervation.

The Lord is a peculiar God to a beleever.

But my time is ſlipt out, and I find my ſtrength to faile, and you find my voice to fall, willingly there­fore I give place to my reverend brother: Only let us firſt call upon God for his bleſſing upon that which hath been delivered, and give him thanks for his gracious aſſiſtance.


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TextThe saints support, set out in a sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons assembled in Parliament. At a publick fast, 29. Iune, 1642. By William Gouge.
AuthorGouge, William, 1578-1653..
Extent Approx. 82 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 24 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A85487)

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Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 19:E107[1])

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Bibliographic informationThe saints support, set out in a sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons assembled in Parliament. At a publick fast, 29. Iune, 1642. By William Gouge. Gouge, William, 1578-1653.. [8], 40 p. Printed by G. M. for Joshua Kirton at his Shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the white Horse,London :MDCXLII. [1642]. (Order to print on verso of first leaf.) (Running title reads: A sermon preached at the late fast before the Commons House of Parliament.) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Bible. -- O.T. -- Nehemiah V, 19 -- Sermons -- Early works to 1800.
  • Presbyterian Church -- Sermons -- Early works to 1800.
  • Fast-day sermons -- 17th century.
  • Sermons, English -- 17th century.

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Users should be aware of the process of creating the TCP texts, and therefore of any assumptions that can be made about the data.

Text selection was based on the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). If an author (or for an anonymous work, the title) appears in NCBEL, then their works are eligible for inclusion. Selection was intended to range over a wide variety of subject areas, to reflect the true nature of the print record of the period. In general, first editions of a works in English were prioritized, although there are a number of works in other languages, notably Latin and Welsh, included and sometimes a second or later edition of a work was chosen if there was a compelling reason to do so.

Image sets were sent to external keying companies for transcription and basic encoding. Quality assurance was then carried out by editorial teams in Oxford and Michigan. 5% (or 5 pages, whichever is the greater) of each text was proofread for accuracy and those which did not meet QA standards were returned to the keyers to be redone. After proofreading, the encoding was enhanced and/or corrected and characters marked as illegible were corrected where possible up to a limit of 100 instances per text. Any remaining illegibles were encoded as <gap>s. Understanding these processes should make clear that, while the overall quality of TCP data is very good, some errors will remain and some readable characters will be marked as illegible. Users should bear in mind that in all likelihood such instances will never have been looked at by a TCP editor.

The texts were encoded and linked to page images in accordance with level 4 of the TEI in Libraries guidelines.

Copies of the texts have been issued variously as SGML (TCP schema; ASCII text with mnemonic sdata character entities); displayable XML (TCP schema; characters represented either as UTF-8 Unicode or text strings within braces); or lossless XML (TEI P5, characters represented either as UTF-8 Unicode or TEI g elements).

Keying and markup guidelines are available at the Text Creation Partnership web site.

Publication information

  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A85487
  • STC Wing G1397
  • STC Thomason E107_1
  • STC ESTC R9775
  • EEBO-CITATION 99873610
  • PROQUEST 99873610
  • VID 155989

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.