PRIMS Full-text transcription (HTML)

The Happineſs of a People In the Wiſdome of their Rulers DIRECTING And in the Obedience of their Brethren ATTENDING Unto what Iſrael ought to do: RECOMMENDED IN A SERMON Before the Honourable GOVERNOUR and COUNCIL, and the Reſpected DEPUTIES of the Mattachuſets Colony in New-England. Preached at Boſton, May. 3d. 1676. being the day of ELECTION there.

By WILLIAM HƲBBARD Miniſter of Ipſwich.

Exod. 18.21.

Moreover thou ſhalt provide out of all the people able men, ſuch as fear God, men of Truth.

Rom. 12.1.

Let every ſoul be ſubject to the higher powers, for there is no Power but God.

Pſal 44.15.

Happy is the people that is in ſuch a caſe, yea happy is that people whoſe God is the Lord.

Ubi Ordinis defectus ibi exoriuntur in aere fulmina, in terrâ commotiones, in Mari inundationes, in corporibus Aegritudines, in urbibus, Seditiones, in an imabus peccata, Ordo continet Coeleſtia, terreſtria, Ordo eſt in intelligibilibus, Ordo in ſenſibilibus, Ordo in aſtris, Ordo in omnibus. Naz.

BOSTON, Printed by John Foſter. 1676.

TO THE HONOURABLE John Leveret Eſq Governour of the Mattachuſets Colony, Together with the reſt of the Honourable Council of Magiſtrates of the ſaid Colony.

WHereas it hath been cuſtomary and commendable in former and leſs curious times, it ſeems in this critical age, not only expedient, but neceſſary to ſend ſuch diſcourſes as the enſuing abroad into the world under the ſhadow & protection of ſome Worthyes, whoſe countenance & authority may defend them from any malevolence they may be incident unto: wherefore the following Sermon being by providence now called forth into publick view, I am neceſſarily emboldned to dedicate it unto your Names, not knowing to whom the patronage of it doth more properly belong. As it is a favour from you, I may the better expect it in that you gave the firſt occaſion to any Elucubrations of mind about it: As it is any teſti­mony of Obſervance from me, none may better then you deſerve it. I never intend­ed any further publication then the preaching, leſt ſuch Crambe bis cocta might not reliſh well in the Palates of this curious Age, ſo plentifully furniſhed with all varietyes of Wiſdome & Knowledge; but for their ſakes who by the exigence of the Times, and preſent diſtreſs of the Warre, were denied the opportunity to be of the Auditory, I have condeſcended to make it Legible. I ſhall not inſiſt upon any A­pology aebout the Subject choſen to treat of, it giving ſo fair an occaſion to ſpeak of all the moſt important dutyes that either Rulers or People can be concerned in whatever juncture of affairs ſhould come upon them. It cannot be denied but in the latter end of the former year, the wiſeſt amongſt us were under ſad apprehen­ſions concerning the iſſue of the preſent troubles that were then come, and dayly coming upon us, in regard of the Rage of the Heathen ſo far let looſe againſt us, and thoſe that were concerned in the Election of Magiſtrates for this preſent year, were ready to fear they might beſpeak the perſons on whom the next Election ſhould fall with the words of the prophet, Thou haſt Cloathing, be thou our Ruler, and let this ruine be under thine hand. But Thanks be to Almighty God that hath verified that antient Proverb of the Hebrews, to our late expe­rience, Cum duplicantur lateres, hinc venit Moſes: And as Iſrael was never brought into greater Streights then a little before Pharaoh and his Hoſt were to be drowned in the red Sea, ſo hath it in a ſence been with our ſelves. There could not but be a very ſad face of things in Iſrael, when their firſt King had by his ill Steerage and bad Conduct of affairs, after a long Tempeſt of Warre ſhipwracke himſelf, his Family, all his Kingdome in that fatal Battle on the mountains of Gilboa, But he whoſe ſole Prerogative it is to bring good out of evill, ordered that diſaſterous Calamity to become an occaſion to uſher in the greateſt proſperity that ever that Nation enjoyed either before or ſince that time. For as God when he had a purpoſe to exalt his people to be the Head of the Nations amongſt whom they lived, and not the tayle; he infuſed a ſpirit of Counſel and Wiſdome into the minds of their Leaders, Inſtructing them to find out the right and ready way of their future peace and tranquility; together with a ſpirit of Love and Obedience in the People to attend thereunto. It is a good O men unto Iſrael when the Go­verment of the Tribes falls into ſuch hands as have Underſtanding in the times to know what Iſrael ought to doe; it will then be no hard matter to perſwade their Brethren to comply with their Commands. As every ſeaſon of a mans life carryes its particular dutyes along with it, ſo doth every age of the World bring with it particular dutyes as the work of that Generation; As it concerns every judicious Chriſtian to know the one, ſo it doth every Head or Leader of the Tribes to be acquainted with the other: as alſo prudently to obſerve the fit ſeaſon and peculiar manner of acting for the performing ſuch duties upon which narrow point depends the ſucceſs of al humane affairs & undertakings. Becauſe to every purpoſe there is time and judgment, therefore is the miſery of man great upon him, faith Solomon, i. e. Becauſe time and Chance hapneth to them all, the ſons of men that know not their times, are taken as Fiſhes in an evill net. If any thing be found hinted in the following Diſcourſe, that hath any tendency that way, or may become an help thereunto, as it is all I aimed at ſo ſhall I reſt abundantly ſatiſfied, if what is humbly offered in that kind, find favourable acceptance with your ſelves or others. As for the times in which, and the place where our Lot is caſt: although in many reſpects we may ſay with the Pſalmiſt, The Lines are fallen to us in pleaſant places, and that we have a goodly Heritage, yet muſt we owne, that what with the imperfections of our minds & Wills, & what with many other temptations that ly before us in the work of our Generation con­curring therewith, we have met with a ſufficient degree offfliction and trouble, enough to ballance our hearts, and keep us from being exalted above meaſure: yet need not this be any Remora, or hindrance unto us, in the preſent duty and Service we are called unto, there being no reaſon to be rendred why we ſhould not walk toge­ther in Ʋnity, Love and Peace in thoſe things whereunto we have attained, becauſe in ſome others, and poſſibly thoſe of leſs moment, ſome may be otherwiſe minded. Concerning which minute and leſſer Differences, I ſhall not preſume here to offer any thing, tending to make the leaſt alteration in any of your judgments, being fully perſwaded that in all the main and eſſential matters of Religion, both of Faith and Order, as well as righteouſneſs, you are all of one mind & judgment, & will all both joyntly and ſeverally exert your moſt ſtrennous endeavours, for the pro­moting the honour and Glory of God, and the good of thoſe under your charge; In which endeavours if you ſhall perſiſt, it may be hoped that as hitherto God hath owned your ſelves, as well as your Predeceſſors, to become as a wall and defence to his vineyard here planted, ſo there may be ſtill found of you that ſhall help to build the waſte places, and raiſe up the foundations of many Generations; and that you (notwithſtanding the preſent Combuſtions) ſhall be called the Repairers of the Breach, and the reſtorers of pathes to dwell in. It is poſſible you may be importu­nately moleſted with the clamours of theſe or thoſe, to make this or that change in your courſe, to gratifie particular mens humours, of which you need take no more notice then the skilfull Pilot at the helme uſes to doe of the cryes of the unskilfull, fearfull Paſſengers that think that courſe will ruine the veſſel, which is the only way to preſerve it. There is an old Fable, that when there hapned a great conten­tion about the weather, thoſe of the high Countryes complained that they were al­moſt burnt up with drought for want of rain, and thoſe of the valleys ſaid they were almoſt drowned for want of Sun-ſhining dayes: Jupiter ſent them word by Mercury the weather ſhould be as it had been. Poſſibly ſome under your Gover­ment are as ready to complain of too much reſtraint, as others are of too much liber­ty. I humbly conceive, you cannot doe better, then to let things be as they have been heretofore, ſo to countenance and encourage thoſe that fear God and work rightiouſ­neſs, but ſharply to rebuke and timely to repreſs whatever is contrary to ſound do­ctrine, or apparently tends to hinder the power of Godlineſs, and progreſs of true Religion, with all other profaneſs or unrighteouſneſs, that under the ſhadow of your Government we may lead quiet lives in all godlineſs and honeſty, yet keeping in mind the wiſe caveate of our Saviour, that in gathering up the tares you root not up the wheat alſo. It is one great part of the unhappineſs of this life, that neither wiſe nor good men are all of one mind, but yet all due care had need be taken, that differences be made neither more nor greater then they are, or carried on with ſuch Animoſity or bitterneſs, as ſhould prejudice the intereſt of Religion, or welfare of the Commonwealth. Yea poſſibly the differences in our minds that occaſion moſt diſturbance ariſe only from that which they call〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſo as if things were not ſtrained at both ends further then the equity of the Rule will al­low, all might well hold together, when the overſtraining of things is oft times ready to break all to pieces If God in whoſe hand our times are, and who ſets the bounds of our habitations, ſhall as he hath begun, goe on to perform his whole work upon his people, and ſend ſuch reſt unto his Churches here, that the Anſwer to be returned to the Meſſengers of the Nations ſhall be, The Lord hath founded our Sion, and that the poor of the people ſhall truſt in it. How can it better be improved, then by taking care that the Churches under your care in this Juriſdicti­on may be edified, walking in the fear of God, that the Lord our God may be with us as he was with our Fathers, that he may not leave us nor forſake us, nor our Poſterity after us. Which to effect, I humbly conceive, there is no way more pro­bable, then by intereſting them as much and as ſoon as may be, in all the priviledges that Chriſtian Religion allows, & as they grow up, to engage them through­ly and ſeriouſly in all the dutyes it requires; to take care that it be done by thoſe whom it more immediately concerns, is certainly a duty in ſpecial incumbent on your ſelves. To this end I may commend to your Conſideration, the Political Fa­thers of the Country, the example of Abraham, whom we find both approved & rewarded of God for commanding his children and his houſhold after him to keep the way of the Lord, and to doe Juſtice and Judgment, that the Lord might bring upon him that which he had ſpoken of him. If he were not much miſtaken who ſaid it was morally impoſſible to rivet Chriſtian Religion into the body of a nation without Infant Baptiſme, by proportion it will as neceſſarily follow that the neg­lect or diſuſe thereof, will as directly tend to root it out. How far the Command given to Joſhuah by God himſelf to circumciſe the Children of Iſrael, i. e. to take order that Circumciſion ſhould be uſed again among the people (by that meanes to nowl the reproach of Egypt from off the Children of Iſrael) may be looked upon as obliging to your ſelves I ſhall not now ſay, ye doubtleſs if what was written or hapned to them was intended as matter of example and admonition to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come, ſome uſe may and ought to be made of ſuch Declarations of Gods will. Whatever Indulgence may be judged need­full to be uſed to ſome that may be of different apprehenſions, I have adventured to ſay ſomething in the following Diſcourſe, for cleering the duty of Rulers in matters of Religion from miſtakes, and ſtating the bounds of moderate Toleration (ſo far as the time allotted for ſuch an exerciſe would al­low) not ſo much for direction to your ſelves, as for the information of others who by their too much rigidneſs on the one hand, or laxneſs on the other, may be rea­dy to obſtruct the Churches peace, but not promote the purity of Goſpel Worſhip, placidè contra ſentientem ferre is no ſmall piece of Chriſtian prudence, the want of which I fear hath done much hurt in this poor Country, as well as in other reformed Churches. Diſſenters in Religion being not much unlike the Seditious in the State, who by fair meanes may be gained, but by too much ſeverity are apt to run into uncurable oppoſition and obſtinacy. It muſt be owned for your future Honour that much hath been done by you to carry on the work of God in this Gene­ration, yet may it be feared that his words will be found too true, (a man much employed and approved by your ſelves, while he was converſant in this world) that unleſs many things were done for the further ſetling of the matters of Religi­on amongſt us before this Generation went off the Stage, they that came after would have cauſe to ſay, that their Predeceſſors had left much of their work un­done.

Thus craving your acceptance of this my ſmall mite, which I am willing to caſt into the Churches Treaſury, under the countenance of your Authority, I ſhall no further trouble you this way. I have made no materiall alteration in any ex­preſſion, nor addition of any thing but what was intended to have been ſpoken, if time would then have given leave.

The Lord fill you all with the Spirit of Wiſdome and Counſell, and make you as the men of his right hand, whome he hath made ſtrong for himſelf, and grant you may be found like David, who being choſen to be the Shepard of Gods Iſrael fed them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulneſs of his hand, which is the Prayer of,

Your humble Servant W. H.

SOme Faults have eſcaped in the Preſs which the Reader is deſired to cor­rect by reading. In p. 4. l. 28. head for Decades. l. 29. Decades for heads, p. 5. l. 19. beſt for bear. p. 7. l. 30. ſeveral for general. p 9. l. 6. read reſidence p, 17. l. 23. immerſed for emerſed. p. 18. l. 16. badges for bodyes. p. 19. l. 9 & 20. l. 36. Apologue for Apologus. p 27. l. 25. leave out, here. p. 22. l. 23. our worſt for or worſe. l, 21. vigor for rigor. l. 23. peccatur for peccat. p 33. l. 13 I­ſacks for Iſraels. p. 37. l. 26. fifth for firſt. p. 39. l. 14. for haſt hate. p. 40. l. 13 tardus for territus. p. 43. l. 27. booty for body. p. 45. l. 18. rights for rites. l. 32 wars for way. The like errors in ſpelling or pointing, may be helped by them that read, as where each is printed for ſuch. p. 56. l. 36.

1 Chron. 12.32.

Of the Children of Iſſachar, which were men that had un­derſtanding of the times to know what Iſrael ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred, and all their Brethren were at their Commandment.

IF ever thoſe words of Wiſdome, Proverbs. 8.15. By me Kings Reign, and Princes decree Juſtice, were true of any of the Kings and Princes of the Earth, they were true of David, who in his publick, as well as private capacity approved himſelf a Man after Gods own heart; leaving an unimitable patern to the Kings of all ſucceed­ing ages, both of piety in obeying God and of wiſdome and juſtice in ruling over men: as if the Book wherein Samuel wrote the manner of the King­dome, had been perfectly tranſcribed in his life and Government. It was not undeſervedly therefore, that after ſo large an edition of the whole Hy­ſtory of the Acts, and Reign of David, in the two firſt Books of the Kings, ſuch a conſiderable addition ſhould be made to that part of the Hyſtory, which concerned his entrance upon his Kingdome, in this twelfth Chapter of the firſt book of the Chronicles, where we have the triumphant manner thereof at large deſcribed, being attended therein with a great Hoſt as it is called, ver. 22. like the Hoſt of God: from which verſe, to the end of this Chapter, it is very remarkable how the Penman of this ſacred Chronicle, like ſome Divine Herauld, is Marſhalling the reſpective bands of the ſaid Hoſt, under the particular Banners of their ſeveral Tribes, aſſigning unto each, ſome diſtinct Character, as a ſpecial badg of honour according as they beſt deſerved, either for the skilfulneſs of their Captains and Leaders, the number and valour of their followers, & willingneſs or readineſs in both, to promote the deſign in hand, which was the turning the Kingdome of Saul unto David.

2Amongſt the reſt of the Tribes, as they are here ranked in this Chapter, ſpecial notice is taken of the Tribe of Iſſachar, of which Tribe although no great matter had been foretold in the Prophetical Benediction, either of Ja­cob or Moſes, yet is there here in the Text a very ſignal teſtimony given, both to their piety and prudence, to their unity and magnanimity, any of which cannot be conceived, but to tend more then a little to the ſucceſsful car­rying on that great affair which now they had in hand: ſo as at that time, what Solomon ſaith of his vertuous Woman, Prov. 31.29. might very fitly have been ſaid of the Tribe of Iſſachar, many daughters have done virtuouſly but thou excelleſt them all.

In the words of the Text there are four things very obvious to the view of the obſervant Reader.

1. The Diſtribution of the whole Tribe into its integral parts or conſti­tuent Members, as to their political order, viz. the Heads and the Brethren; of which two united together conſiſted the body of the Tribe, as is here im­plyed.

2. The qualification of each part, fitly diſpoſing them to a regular per­formance of the duty incumbent on either, for the good of the whole. 1. Wiſdome, in thoſe that were the Heads, deſcribed both by its ſpecification, underſtanding of the times. 2. By its application, to know what Iſrael ought to do. 2. Willingneſs in the Brethren, to attend the advice and counſel of their Leaders, they were at their Commandment.

3. The regular and orderly proceeding of each part, the which is neceſ­ſarily implyed in the words; that when the heads of the Tribe had coun­ſelled and determined what was needful to be done, the Brethren were rea­dy to put their reſolves in Execution. It was not in Iſſachar, as Anacharſis the Philoſopher, ſometimes complained of the tumultuous proceedings in the popular Common-wealth at Athens, that wiſe and grave men deliberated on things, but fools and mad men reſolved thereof: but at this time in Iſſachar, the body of the people were ready to put in execution what thoſe who had underſtanding in the times judged needful to be done.

4. The entire unity of the Tribe amongſt themſelves, declaring the unanimous conſent of the whole; in that it is ſaid, all their Brethren were at their Commandment, ſc. at the Commandment of the two hundred which were the Heads, which doth juſtly advance the gallantry of the Action of the tribe of Iſſachar in this affair, above that of any of the reſt of the Tribes by the ſame proportion, by which our Saviour preferred the bounty of the poor Widow above all the reſt of the Contributers; for as ſhe put into the Treaſury all which ſhe had, ſo doth this Tribe ſend all their whole Stock to increaſe the Hoſt of David: which if they were not ſo many thouſands as ſome of the other Tribes might ſend, yet ſeeing there were none that ſtaid3 behind, it was for want of number, but not of good-will, if they did not e­qual or exceed the reſt of the tribes.

I ſhall only paraphraſe a little upon the words, to give the ſenſe and meaning of them, before I commend any thing from thence to our preſent conſideration.

Of the Children of Iſſachar, theſe were the deſcendants of the fifth Son of Jacob by his Wife Leah, whoſe Lot as it ſeems to have fallen in one of the richeſt, and moſt fruitful ſoiles of the whole Land of Canaan, ſo was it more likely, as was foretold in Jacobs bleſſing to diſpoſe the Inhabitants, by reaſon of the robuſtickneſs of their body (an ordinary effect of the fertility of of any ſoyle) to couch down under a double burden of tribute then by any valour of their minds, to ſhake off the ſervile yoke. It may then not un­ſeaſonably here be demanded how it ſhould come to paſs, that this Tribe ſhould anſwer this honourable character given of them, whereby they may well be thought to have at this time had the precedency of all the reſt of the Tribes, both for their civil prudence, and military Diſcipline, as well as care of Religion. The reaſon given by ſome Interpreters ſeems not ſufficient to ſalve the knot, viz. of thoſe who ſay, that being given to Husbandry, that occaſioned them to be more curious obſervers of times, and ſeaſons; but no­thing appears, why that may not as well be alleadged of moſt of the other tribes, whoſe fruitfull hills, & fertile, vales required alike prudent obſervation of times, & ſeaſons for their clture: God in nature having appointed a time, & a ſeaſon for every work & purpoſe that is to be done under the ſun; wher­fore if it may be lawfull to make conjectures in things of this nature, it may more probably be conceived, that this Tribe by its natural ſcituation bor­dering upon the enemies countrey, or upon the account of its fertillity, be­ing more deſirable, might thereby become more obnoxious to the invaſions of their neighbour enemies, the Philiſtines, and ſo might either become the very ſeat of warr, or a through-fare of military expeditions; and ſo by long experience of the Calamityes and ſervice of Warr, they might become as well expert in managing the affairs of Warr, as ſerious in the purſuit of the meanes tending to promote a ſetled, and laſting peace. It is commonly ſaid that experience is the Miſtriſs of fooles, yet without any diminution of their praiſe be it ſpoken, who attain wiſdom at an eaſier rateIt is oft obſer­ved that they are, or prove the wiſeſt of all other men, who have been trained up in her School: thoſe impreſſions laſt the longeſt, that have been made by the deepeſt inciſion. Hyſtorians ſay of this Tribe, that it was a land thir­ſty of bloud, a place where many fatal battles, had, before this time as well as after, hapned to have been fought: as that of Gideon in the valley of Jezreel; the late ſlaughter of Saul and the Iſraelites on the mountains of Gilboa, the victory over Benhadad and the Syrians neer Aphek, with ſome4 others, all hapning within the confines, or neer the Borders of the tribe of Iſſachar. Poſſibly many bloudy Skirmiſhes had alſo been fought during the reign of the former King within their precincts, whereby the People of this Tribe had been experimentally taught the miſeries and calamities of war, that are uſually produced or prolonged for want of wiſdome, and skilful conduct in them that have the chief command. They being conjoyned in one common miſery, they might the more eaſily be united in one common remedy, viz. the advancement of a more meet perſon to the chief place of Rule and Government in the Nation, one approved by their own experience for his skilful & ſucceſsful managing the affairs of War as well as warranted by the call of God, and therefore more likely to promote the welfare and tranquility of their own, together, with that of the reſt of the Tribes of Iſrael. For before this time, David was known to have behaved himſelf wiſely among the Servants of Saul, as one that knew how to go out, and to go in before the People.

The Heads of them:] there was amongſt the People of Iſrael as it were a threefold Common-wealth, as the learned Sigonius ſpeaks in his Treatiſe of the Commonwealth of the Hebrews, one was that of the whole People, of whom firſt the Judges, afterward the Kings were the chief Heads and Rulers. The other was of every City, which had its Head or chief Ruler; as we read in ſeveral places of the Scripture, as Judg. 9.30. 1 King. 22.36. 2 Chron. 34.8. The third was that of every Tribe, which had its Head or chief Ruler, 1 Chron. 27.16. 2 Chron. 19.11. called the Prince or Head of the Tribe: under whom were the chief Heads or Rulers of every Family in that Tribe: For as every Tribe conſiſted of ſeveral Families, unto one of of which might all the deſcendants of that Tribe be reduced, ſo was ſome one perſon, either by the eminency of his Gifts, or dignity of his Birth-right, uſually advanced to be the chief Ruler, or decades of that Family, ac­cording to the diſtribution of the People into ſo many Heads according to Jethro's advice, Exod. 18.21. At this time it ſeems there were two hundred Heads of the chief Families of the Tribe of Iſſachar, in whoſe wiſdome and integrity the reſt of the Tribe had ſuch confidence, that they were willing to refer the managing of all their civil Affairs, and great concernments to their prudence and diſcretion, engaging themſelves to be ready to put in execution whatever ſhould by their joynt conſent be determined and agreed upon. So ſweet was the accord between thoſe Heads, and their Brethren, that they ſeemed like one intire body, animated and directed by one and the ſame Spirit and Principle of life and Wiſdome.

That had underſtanding of the times:] Noting all that Wiſdome that belongs to Rulers Divine and Humane: For by times we are to underſtand things done in thoſe times, by a metonimy of the adjunct. And for the5 word underſtanding, it is expreſſed by two words in the Hebrew, yet not un­fitly tranſlated by one, according to the uſe of our Language: the one ſeems to note the act of the mind, in way of ſimple apprehenſion: the other the act of the judgement, in way of accurate conſideration dijudicating of the time and ſeaſon with other circumſtances, diſcerning when all things are laid to­gether in the ballances what doth preponderate, & ſo moſt needful to be at­tended: this expreſſion, Eſther. 1.12. is interpreted by knowing law and judgement, and ſuch are there called wiſe men; according to which notion Solomon tells us that a wiſe mans heart diſcerneth time and judgement, Eccl. 8.5. both the thing which, and the time when it is to be done. The Hebrew word here and elſewhere tranſlated underſtanding, means the ſame with that which in Latine is called Prudentia, or recta ratio agibilium, ſknowing the right reaſon of things that are to be done; it cometh from & hath a near cognation with a word that ſignifies to build. A wiſe man that hath any de­ſigne to bring about, is like an Architect, who firſt frameth in his minde an Idea of that which he purpoſeth to erect, whereby he may foreſee how one peice muſt depend upon another, and accordingly provide ſuch materials, as will bear ſuit together, for the carrying on his fabrick: for, as one ſaith well, they are not the wiſeſt men that know moſt, but they that know what is moſt uſeful and proper to bring about the deſigne they have in hand: nor can a man be thought rightly to underſtand a buſineſs that doth not ſee through the circumſtances, it is cloathed with: for many times the circum­ſtances may much alter a caſe; oft times it cometh to paſs, that thoſe things which conſidered in themſelves, and of their own nature ſeem moſt directly tending to ſuch an end, yet falling in conjunction with other things, pro­duce a contrary effect. Thus are the moſt probable means oft diſappointed, being prevented by time and chance, which they wanted wiſdome to foreſee, for want of which foreſight great is the miſery that men bring upon them­ſelves and others: yet is not a ſuperficial wiſdome ſufficient for this purpoſe: many may be deceived by a plauſible appearance of things, into which they have not a through inſight and diſcerning. By a miſtake of this nature Ab­ſalom and all the heads of the people that were with him ruined themſelves and one another, and ſo were overthrown, not having underſtanding of the times in that juncture of affairs: The Couſel of Acitphel ſays Huſhui is not good at this time, which in all thoſe dayes was as the Oracle of God, and was ſo in that exigent, if it had been diſcerned by the heads of the people then preſent as to the deſign they had in hand: no doubt but at that time Davids Prayer (to which the Almighty ſaid Amen) was to take place for the turning the Counſel of Achitophel into fooliſhneſs: but according to Man, the ruine of Abſalome and his party proceeded from their not underſtanding of the times which made them neglect the good counſel of Achitophel, as it is called, 2 Sam. 17.14.

6To know what Iſrael ought to do,] By Iſrael we are moſt commonly to underſtand not the perſon, but the poſterity of Jacob, who were more fre­quently ſtiled after that honourable appellation impoſed on him after his wreſtling with, and prevailing over the Angel, then by that name he received from the caſual event which hapned at his birth, whence he was called Jacob. But in this place by Iſrael we are by another Trope (as often elſewhere) to underſtand, the holy people in covenant with God, ſeparated and diſtinguiſh­ed thereby, from the reſt of the people of the world, which is emphatically to be noted here; for as Wiſdome is properly the knowledge of the right way to the beſt end, ſo is the end that Iſrael ought to aime at, far differing from that which the reſt of the World deſigne to themſelves, conſequently the means or wiſdome that muſt be improved for that end muſt be far dif­fering alſo, as neither flowing from the ſame fountain, nor reſting on the ſame Principles or Foundation, but altogether Eccentrick thereunto. To give an inſtance ſuitable to the occaſion before us, the end of civil policy or Goverment in the Rulers of this World, is, that Men may live peaceably and quietly one with another; therefore looking unto no higher end, no wonder if they pitch upon no other means, then thoſe that ſeem moſt pro­bable to bring about that end, viz. attendance unto thoſe Rules of Righte­ouſneſs and wayes of honeſty, that are known by the light of nature, called jus gentium or jus naturale. But the end that Iſrael ought to aime at, is, that men may lead a quiet life in all godlineſs and honeſty, as Paul ſpeaks, 1 Tim. 2.2. which one Text were enough to confute all thoſe that would debar civil Rulers from intermedling in matters of Religion: but how far they may and ought to interpoſe their authority in things of that nature, there may be occaſion to ſpeak more afterward, by Gods aſſiſtance.

Otherwiſe it would follow, that the Magiſtrate is only to take care, that men may live quietly and peaceably one with another, whither they live ho­neſtly or no: but by the Apoſtles Rule, if the Magiſtrate is to take care that they may live honeſtly, as well as quietly and peaceably, he muſt in like man­ner ſee that they live godlily as well as honeſtly: which neceſſarily implies, that he ought to take care for godlineſs, in the obſervation of the firſt Table, as well as for honeſty in the obſervation of the ſecond.

Further alſo, where the end that Iſrael aims at may be coincident with that which is aimed at by the reſt of the world, yet may not Iſrael take that li­berty to compaſs that end, which others of the World may, at leaſt uſe to do; for Iſrael muſt not do evil that good may come thereof: For as the A­poſtle James ſaith, the wiſdom that deſcendeth not from above is earthly, ſenſual & deviliſh, ſuch as mens ends are, ſuch will the means be which they make uſe of to bring about thoſe ends: yea oft times worldly men will make uſe of very evil means to bring about a good end. The Rule Iſrael ought to walk7 by is to ſuffer rather then to ſin: ſo our Saviour Chriſt tells his Diſciples what is that cuſtome of the Gentiles, but will not allow them ſo to do, Mat 20.25, 26.

In the particular caſe before Iſſchar, and the reſt of the Tribes of Iſrael at this time, it was not difficult to know what they ought to do; if they did but conſider the call of God in anointing David to be King, as well as the qualifying him with Royal gifts for that purpoſe, which conſidera­tions alone could not be counterballanced by all the allegations on the behalf of the houſe of Saul, which was now rejected of God, which Abner knew to be true, as he confeſſed afterward, although he ſet himſelf to uphold the contrary Faction.

Their Brethren were at their Commandment,] in the Hebrew, it is, they were at their mouth. The mouth being the Organ deſigned for the forming of words, where by to expreſs the conceptions of the minde, it is oft put to ſignifie Words, or Commandments that are uttered thereby, as it is here tranſlated in the Text. Hereby is noted the unanimity and ſweet a­greement between the Heads and the People of this Tribe, as if one Spirit had run through the whole body thereof. An happy preſage of good ſuc­ceſs in the buſineſs they had now in hand, if the reſt of the Tribes were in like manner affected, as is very probable they were in a great meaſure. This Spirit of unity and obedience, being moſt exemplarily found in this Tribe of Iſſachar: the ſtrength alſo of their courage and reſolution is neceſſarily implied here; as if they were ready to adventure their lives in whatever ſervice they might be put upon, like the Souldiers of the Centurion in the Goſpel, who were always ready to come, or to go, or to do whatſoever their Commander ſhould put them upon. If any ſhould ask, whither the knowledge of what Iſrael ought to do, is intended of the Heads of the Tribe only, or of the Brethren alſo? I anſwer, of both, according to due pro­portion: that which the Heads of the Tribe adviſed unto, was apprehended by their Brethren as moſt behooful for their ſeveral good, accordingly they are with meet courage and reſolution of minde ready to put the ſame in execution. Guidance belongs to their Leaders, Obedience to their followers, whoſe wiſdome it is to obey rather then diſpute the Commands of their Su­periours.

The words preſent us with as perfect a pattern, and as compleat a model of a well tempered principallity, or common-wealth, as any where we meet with in all the ſacred Hyſtory, and that in theſe four reſpects,

  • 1. As to the beauty of their Order.
  • 2. As to the Wiſdom of their Conduct.
  • 3. As to the Ʋnity of their Counſels.
  • 4. As to the Strength of their Courage and Reſolution.

All which I ſhall8 endeavour to make out, before I commend any thing to your thoughts by way of Application. Theſe are as four Elements to the political World where theſe do all meet, they will make any part of the earth a Paradiſe, like thoſe four Rivers that watered Eden: It muſt needs be a flouriſhing ſtate, where may be ſeen due order in the conſtitution of a Goverment, and adminiſtration thereof, True Wiſdom in the Rulers, Entire Unity in the peo­ple, joyned with meet Courage for the execution of the prudent commands of their Leaders: of ſuch a place it may be ſaid, that it is beautifull as Tir­zah, comely as Jeruſalem, terrible & .c. Cant. 6.4.

In the firſt place I call it the Beauty of their Order; and ſo it is, whether we reſpect their Conſtitution, or their Adminiſtration. Ʋbi Ordo dominatur, ſaith Nazianzen, pulchritudo ſplendeſcit: that is, where Order prevailes, Beauty ſhines forth. It was Order that gave Beauty to this goodly fabrick of the world, which before was but a confuſed Chaos, without form and void. Therefore Job, when he would ſet out the terribleneſs of the grave, and the diſmal ſtate of death, he calls it, the Land of darkneſs, and the ſhadow of death without any Order. Job. 10.22. For Order is as the ſoul of the Univerſe, the life and health of things natural, the beauty and ſtrength of things Artificial. When the prophet Iſaiah, would deſcribe a place deſigned to deſtruction, Iſa. 34.11. he ſayes, the line of confuſion, and the ſtones of emptineſs ſhall be ſtretched over it. The better to underſtand this we may conſider, what Order is? The Schools tell us, it is, Parium, im­puriumqueſua cuiquetribuens la, apta diſpoſitio. Such a diſpoſition of things in themſelves equall and unequal, as gives to every one their due and pro­per place. It ſuited the wiſdom of the infinite and omnipotent Creator, to make the world of differing parts, which neceſſarily ſuppoſes that there muſt be differing places, for thoſe differing things to be diſpoſed into, which is Ordhr. The like is neceſſary to be obſerved in the rational and political World, where perſons of differing endowments and qualifications need a differing ſtation to be diſpoſed into, the keeping of which, is both the beauty and ſtrength of ſuch a Society. Naturaliſts tell us that beauty in the body ariſes from an exact ſymmetry or proportion of contrary humours, equal­ly mixed one with an other: ſo doth an orderly and artificial diſtribution of diverſe materials, make a comely Building, while homogeneous bodyes (as the depths of waters in the Sea, and heaps of ſand on the Shore) run into confuſed heaps, as bodyes uncapable to maintain an order in themſelves. So that it appears, whoever is for a parity in any Society, will in the iſſue reduce things into an heap of confuſion. That God who aſſumes to him­ſelf the the title of being the God of Glory, is the God of peace, of Order, and not of Confuſion, 1. Cor. 14.33. compar'd with ver. 40. He is ſo in his Palace of the world, as well as in his temple of his Church: in both9 may be obſerved a ſweet ſubordination of perſons and things, each unto other. As for his Temple of the Church, whither we conſider the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy of Holyes, or the middle part, or the outward Court: a diſtinction of order may be obſerved in all. Look we into the third hea­vens the high and holy place, as a royal Pavilion pitched by the Almighty for the recidence of his Glory, although it be furniſhed with Inhabitants ſuitable to the nature of that celeſtial throne, yet are they not all of one rank and order; there are Cherubims as well as Seraphims, Arch-Angels as well as Angels, Thrones and Dominions, as well as Principalityes and Powers. There are alſo, as in a middle rank, the Spirits of juſt men made perfect: though no unclean thing may enter in, yet have they not attained their per­fection in Glory, but do yet expect an addition of Glory: but in the out­ward Court, as there are diverſityes of gifts, ſo there are of places, and or­der: ſome that are to rule and go before, others that are to be ſubject, and to follow. Obey them that have the rule over you, and ſubmit your ſelves. Heb. 13.17. If we ſhall but deſcend and take notice of the firmament, the pavement of that glorious manſion place, although it be the roof of this lower world, may we not there ſee, one ſtar differing from another in glory? There is placed the Sun, the lord and ruler of the day, as well as the Moon, that rules the night, together with the ſtars, as the common-people of that upper region, who yet doe immediately veyle their glory, and withdraw their light, when their bridegroom cometh forth of his chamber. In the firmament of the air, may we not ſee the lofty eagle in his flight far ſur­mounting the little choriſters of the valleys? The like diſproportion who obſerves not amongſt thoſe creatures that take their paſtime in the deep waters, or that range upon the high mountains, hunting for cheir prey? And hath not the ſame Almighty Creator and diſpoſer of all things made ſome of the ſons of men as far differing in height of body one from the other, as Saul from the reſt of the people, than whom he was higher from the ſhoulders upward, or as much as the ſons of Anak did excel Zache­us in procerity of ſtature. And are not ſome advanced as high above o­thers in dignity and power, as much as the cedars of Lebanon the low ſhrubs of the valley? It is not then the reſult of time or chance, that ſome are mounted on horſe-back, while others are left to travell on foot. That ſome have with the Centurion, power to command, while others are required to obey. The poor and the rich meet together, the Lord is the maker of them both. The Almighty hath appointed her that ſits behind the mill, as well as him that ruleth on the throne. And herein hath he as well conſulted the good of humane nature, as the glory of his own wiſdome and power: Thoſe of the ſuperiour rank, but making a ſupply of what is wanting in the other: other­wiſe might not the fooliſh and the ignorant be like to looſe themſelves in the10 Wilderneſs, if others were not as eyes to them. The fearful and the weak might be diſtroyed, if others more ſtrong and valiant, did not protect and defend them. The poor and the needy might ſtarve with hunger and cold, were they not fed with the morſells, and warmed with the fleece of the wealthy. Is it not found by experience, that the greateſt part of mankind, are but as tools and Inſtruments for others to work by, rather then any proper Agents to effect any thing of themſelves: In peace how would moſt people deſtroy themſelves by ſlothfulneſs and ſecurity? In war they would be deſtroyed by others, were it not for the wiſdome and courage of the valliant. If the virtue and the valour of the good did not interpoſe by their authority, to prevent and ſave, the vice of the bad would bring miſchief e­nough upon places to ruine both, elſe why is it ſo frequently intimated in the latter end of the book of Judges, that in thoſe dayes, when there was no king in Iſrael, but every man was left to do what ſeemed right in his own eyes, that theſe and thoſe enormityes brake forth, that violated all Lawes, and offered violence even unto nature it ſelf? Judg. 17.6. &. 18.1. &. 19 1. & 21.25. Thus if Order were taken away, ſoon would confuſion follow, and every evill work, James, 3.16. Nothing therefore can be imagined more remote either from right reaſon, or true religion, then to think that be­cauſe we were all once equal at our birth, and ſhall be again at our death, therefore we ſhould be ſo in the whole courſe of our lives. In fine, a body would not be more monſtrous and deformed without an Head, nor a ſhip more dangerous at Sea without a Pilot, nor a flock of ſheep more ready to be devoured without a Shepheard, then would humane Society be without an Head, and Leader in time of danger, which in a difficult caſe the Gilea­dites are forced to acknowledge, when they flee for refuge to Jephah, that mighty man of valour, to be their Captain and Head, to ſave them from the band of the children of Ammon, whom a little before they had caſt off, as an eye ſore and ſuperfluous branch of their family, not worthy to enjoy any part of inheritance amongſt his brethren.

The like muſt be acknowledged concerning the order of Adminiſtration, as hath been already ſaid concerning the order of conſtitution, whither in the church or ſtate. The order of Solomons houſhould, was an aſtoniſhing ſight to the Queen of Sheba, as well as the Wiſdome of his other contrivements. 1. King. 10.5. The Apoſtle Paul rejoyceth to behold the order of the Church of the Coloſſians, as well as their Faith. The ſame Apoſtle gives a ſpecial direction to the Church of Corinth, that all things be done decently and in order,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉alluding to the adminiſtration of Rule in an Army marſhalled in its ſeveral ranks, under the wiſe conduct of skilfull Leaders, then which nothing can be more comely or comfortable to themſelves, & terrible to their enemies. On this account it ſeems to be, that ſuch ſevere11 Animadverſions have been made upon all occaſions on the violaters of Or­der, mark them that walk diſorderly, ſaith Paul, 2. Theſſ. 3.6.11. and have no fellowſhip with them. And in another place, he wiſhes they were cut off that troubled them, no doubt by their diſorderly acting. This is the firſt Com­mand with promiſe, ſc. the obſervation of the Order eſtabliſhed by divine appointment, betwixt Superiours and Inferiours. No wonder therefore that when the people of Iſrael were ready, inſtead of puniſhing the diſorder and rebellion of Corah, and his company, to countenance the buſineſs, God himſelf ſteps in to quiet the Tumult, and by Moſes his mouth tells the preſent offenders, and in them all others of the like ſtamp, that as they would make an innovation in the camp, ſo he himſelf would make a new thing in the earth, that it ſhould open its mouth, and at once, without any further tryal or delay, ſwallow down and devour thoſe preſumptuous offenders, that had attempted to violate the order God himſelf had ſo newly eſtabliſhed in the Camp. Behold ye diſpiſers of order and Goverment, and wonder, that God whoſe glory it is to be ſtiled, long-ſuffering, Patient and ſlow to wrath, is ſo quick in puniſhing this ſin, as to prevent any future hope of mercy by Repentance, to thoſe ſo notorious breakers of Order. What were this but to Chaos the world again, and to make Inſtabilis terra, innabilis unda? God wl therefore have after ages to read the greatneſs of this ſin, in the dreadfulneſs of the puniſhment therof. The earth is not willing to bear offen­ders of this nature, as we may ſee by the inſtance of the old world, whoſe inhabitants when they fill the earth with violence, they are cut down out of time, and carried off the earth with a flood. Abſalom that rebellious wretch, the earth is not willing to bear ſuch a burthen: yea hell it ſelf is as it were diſquieted by them from beneath, For that Kingdome of darkneſs is not without its order, without which it could not ſubſiſt, as our Saviour argues, if Satan were divided againſt himſelf his kingdome could not ſtand. And this is the firſt thing worthy our obſervation, in this excellent Platform of Polity. The ſecond followeth which is,

2. The wiſdome of their Conduct. Their Heads had ſuch underſtanding of the times, as to know what Iſrael ought to do.

In a curious piece of Architecture, that which firſt offers it ſelf to the view of the beholder, is the beauty of the ſtructure, the proportion that one piece bears to another, wherein the skill of the Architect moſt ſhews it ſelf. But that which is moſt Admirable in ſenſitive and rational beings, is that in­ward principle, ſeated in ſome one part, able to guid the whole, and influ­ence all the reſt of the parts, with an apt and regular motion, for their mu­tual good and ſafety. The wiſdome of the Creatour was more ſeen in the breath of life, breathed into the Noſtrils of Adam, whereby he became a living ſoul, then in the feature and beauty of the goodly frame of his body,12 formed out of the duſt, as the Poet ſpeaks, Os homini ſublime dedit The Architect of that curious piece hath placed the Head in the fore-front, and higheſt ſphear, where are lodged all the ſenſes, as in a Watch-Tower, ready to be improved upon all occaſions, for the ſafety and preſervation of the whole. There are placed thoſe that look out at the windows, to foreſee evil and danger approaching, accordingly to alarm all the other inferiour powers, to take the ſignal and ſtand upon their guard for defence of the whole. There alſo is the ſeat of the Daughters of muſick, ready to give audience to all reports and meſſages that come from abroad: if any thing ſhould occurre or happen nearer home, or further off, imparting either fear or evil, or hope of good; Their work is immediately to diſpatch meſſages through the whole province of nature, to ſummon all the other Members together, to come in and yield their aſſiſtance to prevent the miſchief feared, or prepare for the reception of the good promiſed, or pretended, as the na­ture of the caſe may require. Thus are all orders wont to be diſpatched and iſſued from the Cinque ports of the ſenſes in, and about the head, for the benefit and advantage of the whole body. Very fitly therefore in the body politick are the rulers by way of alluſion called Heads. And in caſe of inability to diſcharge thoſe functions, ſuch ſocieties may not undeſervedly be compared to the Palmiſts Idols, that have eyes but ſee not, and have ears but hear not. Suppoſe the hands be never ſo ſtrong for action, or the feet never ſo ſwift for motion, yet if there be not diſcretion in the head to diſ­cerne, or judgement to determine what is meet to be done for the obviating of evil and danger, or procuring of good, it will be impoſſible to ſave ſuch a body from ruine and deſtruction. If the Maſt be never ſo well ſtreng­thened, and the Tackline never ſo well bound together, yet if there wants a skilful Pilot to Steer and Guide, eſpecially in a rough and tempeſtuous Sea, the lame will ſoon take the prey, as it hapned a little before this time, in the Reign of Saul, when the Philiſtines had ſo often harreſſed that Country, and placed their Gariſons in the very heart of the Land, and not long after, when in the days of Rehoboam, who had ſhields enough, ſome of Gold, with other weapons of War, many thouſand ſtalls of Horſes, with Horſe­men proportionable to manage them, yet for want of wiſdome and under­ſtanding in the head of that rich and populous Kingdome, how ſoon is it be­come a prey to the firſt aſſaylant, as afterwards alſo in the dayes of Joaſh; when there was but a ſmall company of the Syrians that came againſt him, a great Hoſt was delivered into their hand, and all through that ill conduct of the Head of that Kingdome.

But by the way, here we are to mark, according to the ſence of the words already given; under the wiſdome of conduct, or underſtanding of the times, to know what Iſrael ought to do, is neceſſarily comprehended piety13 before God, as well as prudence amongſt men, according to the received rule of Scripture Language and Phraſe, where as Divines uſe to ſay, verba ſenſus denotant affectum cordis: therefore underſtanding to know Iſraels du­ty, requires a great deal of divine skill and ſpiritual wiſdome attained by Faith in Gods promiſes, diligent reading of the precepts of his Law, fervent and frequent prayer for divine aſſiſtance, by which means David became wi­ſer then his Teachers, yea, was accounted wiſe as the Angel of God to diſ­cerne good and bad, and to know all things that were in the earth. It was by a ſpecial Law required of God that the King in Iſrael ſhould have a copy of the divine Law, written out (by his own hand, ſay ſome of the Rabbines) and kept by him, that he might read therein all the dayes of his life, Deut. 17 19.20. that from thence he might receive direction how to govern his Kingdome, ſo that according to the excellent patern before us in the Text, it is requiſite that the Heads and leaders of Iſrael, ſhould be verſed in Divine, as well as in humane Law. Therefore we find, that when Solomon, after he was advanced to be the chief Head and Leader of Iſrael, when he had his Option granted him of God, could not ask any thing ſo well pleaſing to God, and ſo needful to himſelf, as wiſdome, or an underſtanding heart to judge the Iſrael of God, and to diſcerne between good and bad. As herein had David his Father before him approved himſelf, as a meet Shepheard over the flock of God, in feeding of them according to the integity of his heart, and guiding them by the skilfulneſs of his hands, Pſal. 78. ult. That is he guided them by his counſel, and preſerved them by his power, in which two branches is contained the ſum of a Rulers office. And though in many caſes the rule is very plain and eaſie, and he that runs, as is ſaid, may read what Iſrael ought to do; yet things may be oft times ſo circumſtanced in Iſrael, that it is no eaſie matter to know what Iſrael ought to do: many times the right way lieth in a very narrow; the Channel may run between two dangerous precipices on either ſide, ſo that a man who hath not great underſtanding, Incidit in ſyllam volens vitare charybdin. A Ruler may oft times run into one or more evils, and it may be great ones too, that intend­ed only to avoid ſome leſſer one, yea ſometimes he that reſolves to keep the middle of the Channel, yet for want of inſight and experience, not making allowance for emergent caſes & difficulties, not eaſie to be foreſeen, may by the ſetting of the Current be ſhipwracked on the oppoſite Shoar: (Si tem­pora, & rerum ſtatus ita circumvolvantur, ut adminiſtrandi ratio, cum illis conſentiens, ſit bona, faeliciter omnia contingent; at ſi tempora et res ipſae mutentur, poribit, qui in agendo rationem non mutat. As ſaid that great Italian Polititian)

A fitter Inſtance of which dangerous errour cannot be given, then that of Joſiah; who yet was one of the beſt Rulers that ever headed the Kingdome of Judah, for he, to prevent a leſſer inconvenience of having his own King­dome14 (that lay between the two great Kings of Aſſyria and Egypt) made the ſeat and field of War, denies liberty to the Egyptian to paſs through his Kingdome, and ſo oppoſing him in an hoſtile way, is overcome and ſlain, and his Kingdome ſpoiled by him: it proving the moſt fatal Battel that ever was fought by any of the Kings of Judah, and which made way to the final over­throw of the Kingdome, and following Captivity of the People. So great miſchiefs oft times do attend the want of underſtanding to know what Iſ­rael ought to do. Rehoboam alſo and his people did both ſtrangely ruine themſelves by a contrary extream in this kind, in not underſtanding of the times to know what they ought to do, to avoid the danger which either of them feared. The King was afraid of being mated by his Subjects, puts on a garb of greater Majeſty then was uſual in his countenance and words, at that time, when a condeſcending carriage, with more mildneſs and gentle­neſs had been more neceſſary, and in all probability, had ſaved both his Ho­nour and his Kingdome: on the otherſide, the people acted by the ſame fatal and precipitant counſels of raſh and unadviſed perſons, to avoid the heavy yoke of the houſe of David, as they conceived, advanced one of the Servants of their former Kings, whoſe little finger proved indeed (as the other proudly ſpeaks) heavier then the loyns of the two former Kings, for the Kingdome was not able to ſtand long under the weight thereof, but was ſoon cruſhed and ruined by the tyrany of the ſucceeding Kings of the ten Tribes. The conſideration of ſuch dangerous conſequences, might obviate the heady and tumultuous humors of many, who upon the leaſt diſcontent againſt their Rulers, for want of ſucceſs, or the like, think of nothing leſs then of remo­ving them out of the World, or out of the Government at leaſt, and ſub­ſtituting others in their room, which if they ſhould accompliſh, poſſibly might intangle them in the like, or a worſe miſchief then that which they expected to be delivered from, as many have found by ſad experience. Oft doth the remedy prove worſe then the diſeaſe. Infaeliciter agrotat eui plus mali venit a medico, quàm a morbo. As good to have no King in Iſrael as to anoint a Bramble over the reſt of the Trees. In the preſent exigent before us in the Text; the caſe appeared difficult a good while. There was Abner the Captain of the Hoſt of Iſrael, with the Son and Heir of the former King, engaged on the one ſide; David and a few of his Servants and followers on the other: yet to thoſe that had underſtanding of thoſe times, it doth at the laſt manifeſtly appear what Iſrael ought to do. Saul had outed himſelf of the Kingdome, by asking counſel of the Devil how to continue it in his fami­ly, who were therefore juſtly rejected of God; David was by a ſpecial man­date from God choſen to be King in his ſtead, which Abner and the Captains of the Hoſt can readily acknowledge, when prejudice and ſelf-intereſt is laid aſide and Conſcience but permitted to ſpeak. The Kingdome belonged15 unto David, not only in regard of ability and fitneſs, but alſo in point of right and title, as being the perſon deſigned of God for them to chooſe; yet is it ſomething long before the people are willing to underſtand it. Though wiſdome be alwayes too high for a fool, as Solomon ſpeaks, yet in the dark­eſt times that ever befel the Iſrael of God, they that will do the will of God may by inquiry, ſtudy and prayer come to know what it is. However it doth hereby appear of how great concernment it is, for the Heads in Iſrael to know what Iſrael ought to do, leaſt otherwiſe they be drawn to do, that which in Iſrael ought not to be done. Gideon was a wiſe man, that judged Iſrael with great approbation of God and man, yet out of a ſuperſtitious conceit, will needs make an Ephod, which thing ought not to have been done in Iſrael, what followed? All Iſrael went a whoring after it, and ſo it became a ſnare to himſelf in his family, and to Iſrael alſo.

The body of a people are not much unlike the body of waters, which are not apt to move of themſelves, if let alone in their own receptacle, but as they receive an impreſſion from a forreign Element, or a power that is a­bove them: and things that are ſoft and flexible are ſuſceptible of divers, yea contrary impreſſions. David by an inſinuating and melting ſpeech bowed the hearts of all the men of Iſrael as one man. They that have ſuch intereſt in them, had need know what they ought to do, ſeeing they may make them do almoſt what pleaſeth themſelves that are their Rulers: for Abſolom had bowed them as well as David, though it were the wrong way. All mens hearts are not in their own keeping; wiſe men can eaſily find keys that will open the Cabinet and take away the Treaſure; for tis ſaid, Abſalom ſtole a­way the hearts of the men of Iſrael. Thus in things of the greateſt mo­ment, it is eaſie for Princes, and Leaders, and Heads of the Tribes to draw them that are their bones and their fleſh, as David ſpeaks to be of their mind and to engage in their quarrel, be it right or wrong. Many Inſtances of the like kind may be given out of prophane as well as Sacred Hyſtory, for the ſea of examples of this nature is withous bottome, whereby it will be found moſt evident, that thoſe who are the Heads and Leaders of any people may eaſily engage them in their own quarrels to their ruine and deſtruction, as often as otherwiſe.

Thus did Jeroboam, Ahab, Jehu and others perſwade the people of Iſrael, after their own example, to embrace the abominable idolatry of the Calves which brought inevitable and fatal ruine upon the whole Kingdome of the ten Tribes, as well as upon their owne families. Cato was wont to ſay of the people of Rome, (and it is as true of any other ſort of people) that they were like ſheep, in that it was eaſier to drive or lead a whole flock or multi­tude of them, then any one ſingle creature amongſt them. By all which Conſiderations it is manifeſt that things are no where like, ſo ſuccesfully to16 be carryed on as where they who are concerned in the leading of Church or ſtate, have ſuch underſtanding of the times, as to know what Iſrael ought to doe.

3. The third thing conſiderable in this unparalleld pattern of civill poli­ty is the unity of their Counſels. That which in this juncture of affairs be­fore us in the text, was apprehended as moſt meet for Iſrael to doe, is by the joynt advice and counſel of the heads of this tribe propounded, and by the whole body of the people conſented unto, and approved, ſuch a rare pattern of unity is ſeldome found in our times. Let a body politick be ne­ver ſo well proportioned, as to its conſtitution, and form of goverment, & never ſo well furniſhed with wiſe and able men for its conduct and guidance, yet if the ſeveral members be not well tuned together, by a ſpirit of love and unity, there will never be any good harmony in their Adminiſtrations. Where the whole multitude is not of one heart, and of one mind, as was ſaid of them in the Acts. Chap 4.32. there will appear little beauty or ſtrength, and no ſucceſs in any of their motions. In the beautifull Syſtemof the world, which yet is compounded of ſundry Elements, and thoſe of differing qualityes one from the other, yet is there ſuch a neceſſary and mutual con­nection between the parts, that they are all ſo firmly knit one to another, that it is altogether impoſſible to make any breach in their union: rather will thoſe ſeveral bodies forget the propertyes of their own nature, then thee ſhall be any Chaſma or Vacuum amongſt them, which would tend to a diſſolution of the whole. Thus in the body politick, where it is animated with one entire ſpirit of love and unity, and ſetled upon laſting and ſure foun­dations of quietneſs and peace, all the ſeveral members, muſt and will con­ſpire together to deny, or forbear the exerciſe of their own proper incli­nations, to preſerve the union of the whole; that there be no Schiſme in the body, as the Apoſtle ſpeaks: Therefore where the higher bodyes in Church or ſtate, cannot deſcend (and that of their own voluntary inclina­tion without forcible compulſion) and the lower and groſſer ones cannot aſcend up to meet the other, any man may eaſily read the deſtiny of ſuch a ſociety, It had been much better for Rehoboam to have denyed himſelf, and become the ſervant of his people, and ſubjects for that one day, rather then to have made them his enemies, if not his lords (for they were the greater Kingdome) for ever after. David was forced to yield to as much as that came to, if not ſomething more, when he complains, the ſons of Z­viah are too hard for him, rather then to make a breach between himſelf & his men of warr, in that difficult time, when himſelf was yet weak, and the Kingdome not firmly or fully ſetled in his hand. David was wiſe as an An­gel of God, to know what he had to doe; and doth not connive at their ſin, although he doth for that time forbear to execute the puniſhment, leaving17 things to a more convenient ſeaſon. Jeruſalem, ſayes the Pſalmiſt, is buil­ded as a city that is compact together: when the parts of a building are ſo artificially framed one into another, that they are as it were cemented, and knit together by a vital ſpirit of love, the more weight is laid upon them, the firmer and ſtronger they grow: but where they are diſjoynted, one part helps to weaken, and overthrow the other. Cyrus is ſaid to have o­verthrown the impregnable city of Babylon, by drawing the great channel of Euphrates, into ſeveral ſmall rivulets, which, had they continued in one main ſtream, he could never have done. It is not the ſtorms and tempeſts, though never ſo boiſterous, while they are on the outſide, or upon the ſurface of the earth, that make any commotion therein, but the vapors that are inſenſibly gotten into its bowels, that make it quake and tremble. It is not the outward force and violence that ruines a commonwealth, ſo much as a ſpirit of diviſion, and contention ariſing from jealouſies, prejudices, & animoſityes from within themſelves, which doth moſt dangerouſly threaten, and moſt certainly foretell its deſtruction, as our Saviour himſelf ſpeaks, an An houſe or Kingdome divided againſt it ſelf cannot ſtand. The ſwift ſhips that are driven by the fierce winds, or carryed with the raging waves of the ſea, yet ſo long as they who ſit at their helmes are united in their coun­ſels and endeavours, moſt commonly do avoid the danger of ſhip-wrack, be­ing turned this or that way, upon occaſion, at the will of the governour, but if they who are to manage them cannot agree amongſt themſelves, they may eaſily be emerſed, and whole navies of them become but ludibrium Ven­torum. Unity of Counſell is one of the chief foundations of civill Polity: But if the foundations be diſſolved, what can the righteous doe? but mourn in ſecret, when they foreſee, but cannot prevent the miſeryes that are coming upon a factious, divided and ſelf-deſtroying people. It was a ſad time in Iſ­rael, when one half of the people followed Tibi the ſon of Ginath; the o­ther half followed Omi; whence might neceſſarily be inferred the deſtructi­on of one ſide or of the other, as ſoon after came to paſs in that people. Or elſe may endanger the ruine of the whole, as too often hath been ſeen in the world, that when leſſer ſocietyes have been divided amongſt themſelves, they have but the ſooner become a prey to a ſtronger power. Which if it had not been experienced in moſt of the ſtates, and ſocietyes of the Chriſti­an world, and in all the latter, as well as antient revolutions of the nations; where any order of Goverment, either civill or eccleſiaſtical hath been eſta­bliſhed, might have been exemplifyed by particular inſtances. Faelix quem faciunt &c. happy are they that can take warning by the harms they have obſerved in preceeding times. Such diviſions, eſpecially in the Church of God, are in a great meaſure to be aſcribed to the policy of Satan, who en­deavours by all wayes and meanes to foment diviſions, amongſt thoſe of the18 Church, by that courſe to ruine them, while in the mean time, he provides for the quiet of his own Kingdome, the world. God alſo may be ſaid to do it, being provoked by the pride and tyranny, with other wickedneſs of the ſons of men, judicially to mingle a perverſe ſpirit in the midſt of a nation, & ſuffer­ing their princes to be deceived, and to deceive their people, as the prophet ſpeaks of Egypt. Iſa. 19.13, 14. Cauſing them to erre in every work thereof as a drunken man ſtaggereth in his vomit. But the meritorious and procu­ring cauſe of thoſe ruinous and deſtructive counſells ariſes from the weak­neſs or wickedneſs of a people themſelves: It being obſerved as one of the bleſſings God was pleaſed to caſt in to ſome heathen ſtates, as a reward of their wiſdome and prudence, with other moral virtues, viz. their long peace, and flouriſhing proſperity upon the earth. It is much to conſider, that all Aſia can agree together in the worſhip of a Diana, and the Image that fell down from Jupiter, while one ſingle Church in the city of Corinth cannot long hold together in the worſhip of the true God, nor retain the rites of his worſhip, and the regular uſe of the ſacred bodyes of love and unity, without ſuch ſhamefull diviſions, and ſcandalous breaches, as they are ſharply rebuked for by the Apoſtle, in both his Epiſtles to that Church, im­puting the root of thoſe diviſions to the luſts of the fleſh, Are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Cor. 3.3.

But this being a matter of ſo great concernment for the good and welfare of Societyes whither Chriſtian or civill, it may not be amiſs to enquire into the true grounds and reaſons of ſuch Unity, or the way how it may be brought about. The firſt and principal is, a clear diſcovery of the right way of their peace and proſperity, it being taken for granted, that this is, or ought to be the end that all Societyes generally ayme at, ſc. a quiet poſ­ſeſſion of what they already have, with enlargement of their proſperity, if attainable, But if there be no agreement in the meanes that ſeem moſt di­rectly to tend to that end, but that apprehenſions are divided about that, they may be as much divided for ever: For at this time, and a little before, the Iſraelites were taken with a fond deſire of a Kingly Goverment, yet not being at an agreement amongſt themſelves about the perſon, or the man­ner of his Goverment, they were divided into factions till their minds by ſad experience came to be convinced, that David was the perſon, not only called, but qualified of God for that great ſervice. which Amaſa expreſſes in the name of the reſt of the Tribes, Thine are we David, and on thy ſide thou ſon of Jeſſe, ſo that nothing can be ſuppoſed more directly to tend to the creating and maintaining, unity in the counſells and affections of a people, then cleer convincing light, and a demonſtrative evidence, that what is pro­pounded, ishe direct and proper meanes to bring about the end generally aymed at; othewiſe, it will be ſaid Scinaitur incertum ſtudia in contraria vulgus19 The poor man by his wiſdome, ſaith Solomon, delivered the city. And the wiſe woman of Abel ſaved the city by propounding ſo meet an expedient, as gained acceptance in all apprehenſions. Otherwiſe it may fall out as Solo­mon ſaith, Ec. 10.15. the labour of the fooliſh wearyeth every one of them, for they know not how to find the way to the city. Where wiſdome is wanting to direct mens actions, labour will be endleſs, & the iſſue miſchief, or diſappointment at the beſt. When once the people of Rome were ready to mutiny upon quar­rel that fell out between the Citizens of the higher, and thoſe of the lower ranke, Menippus healed the breach by a wiſe Apologus of the contention be­tween the belly, and the members in the body natural, which carryed ſuch a convincing evidence along with it, that all partyes at variance were ſoon a­greed about the way of their own welfare. The like wiſe medium was pro­pounded by Jotham, in the ninth of Judges, but it could not be attended, be­cauſe God had ſent an evill ſpirit amongſt them, as the text there ſpeaks.

2. The mutual intereſt that the members of the ſame Society have in the affections of each other, gives great advantage to promote this Unity, if duly conſidered. There was no ſmall argument in the words of Abram uſed to Lot, Let not us fall out, for we are Brethren. Nature leaves a ſtrange inſtinct upon thoſe of the ſame kind, even amongſt the bruit creatures to defend one another, and to revenge the injury done to their owne kind: ſuch incli­nations uſe to work more ſtrongly with thoſe that are endued with reaſon. The joynt intereſt of people in the ſame family, nation or religion, tends much this way: Joab could not have uſed a more pathetical argument to his brother Abiſhai, then the mention of [our people, and the cityes of our God. ] whereby to engage him to a maganimous combate with the common enemy; as alſo the promiſe of mutual aſſiſtance each to other, and no doubt the preceding exhortation to magnanimity, took the firmer hold on either of their hearts to conſider their neer relation each to other. David enga­ges much on this account, For my Brethren and Companions ſake, I will now ſay peace be within thee, Pſal. 122 8. On the other hand, when the minds of perſons, are either leavened with pride, or diſcontented, or their ſpirits im­bittered with jealouſies or prejudices againſt each other, it cannot but much hinder this deſired Unity. When the envy of Ephraim, and the veing of Judah ſhall ceaſe one toward another Iſa 11.13. they may the more eaſily ſubdue all other of their enemies.

3. This comes to paſs by the prudent and condeſcending behaviour of thoſe that are leaders of others, who by their diſcreet behaviour may doe much to maintain Love and unity in Societyes, for want of which oft times it is miſerably loſt. The ſoft anſwer pacifieth wrath, and the ſoft tongue breaketh the bone, ſaith Solomon. Gideon by a mild and gentle anſwer prevented a quarrel betwixt him and the Ephraemites, which afterwards upon the like20 occaſion brake forth into a bloudy warr, in the dayes of Jeptah. David bowed the hearts of all the men of Iſrael as one man, by an inſinuating ſpeech as by his diſcreet behaviour in former times he won the hearts of all Sauls ſervants, notwithſtanding that inveterate prejudice, envy and malice of their maſter againſt him. Duro con duro non ſat bon muro, ſay the Italians; a firm wall will not be made up of hard ſtones, without the mixture of ſome more yielding matter to cement them together. That may eaſily be drawn by love, that will not be driven by a mighty force. The rigor of a Command may be much ſweetned by the gentleneſs of the expreſſion. Paul, though now the aged, will rather for loves ſake beſeech, or intreat a favour of Philemon, then enjoyne a duty. Moſes his calling the Iſraelites Rebells, was more like to increaſe the Rebellion of their wills againſt God, then any way alter that evill diſpoſition of their minds. Joabs peremptory adjuring of David, al­though in that exigent, it gained the preſent end he aimed at, yet it for ever after loſt his intereſt in his Sovereigns heart, the harſhneſs of the words be­ing harder to be digeſted then the matter contained in them. Many times alſo the difficulty of a meſſage is much ſweetned by the courteous diſpoſition of them that bring it, as the third meſſenger ſent by the king of Iſrael to Elijah, ſeems to find by experience. Rehoboams yoke had not ſeemed ſo intollerable, if it had with more gentle words been impoſed; wherefore fol­lowing kings chuſe rather to expreſs their non-aſſent to the demands of their ſubjects by an Adviſrale Roy, then by an harſh and abſolute refuſal. When Themiſtocles once told the Adriens, to whom he was ſent to demand tribue, that he would bring two mighty Gods to overcome them, Love and Eloquence, it was replyed to him, that they had two mightier then they, ſc Po­verty and impoſſibility, or elſe very probably the other might eaſily have prevailed. This way of procuring unity and peace is as much ſeen in mat­ters of Religion, as in things of another nature, where as a late Author truly ſaith, by paſſionate, hot and eager Diſputes peace is alwayes loſt, and truth is ſeldome or never found.

4. In the fourth and laſt place, This is brought about by the influence and aſſiſtance of Divine Grace, ſo diſpoſing the wills and affections of men that unity and peace are thereby both procured and preſerved. For if God be provoked to ſend an evil Spirit, as he did betwixt the men of Shechem, and the houſe of Millo, the wiſeſt Counſels ſhall not prevail, as at that time was delivered them by Jotham a very ſage Apologus, yet it could not prevent that wicked conſpiracy between the men of Shechem, and Abimelech, for God had purpoſed by that means to puniſh them both, ſo that a mutual fire is kin­dled, whereby the men of Shechem & the houſe of Millo are devoured one by another: when a mans ways pleaſe the Lord, his very Enemies ſhall be at peace with him, much more eaſie it is to expect that ſuch may obtain peace one with21 another, when God is ſtiled the God of love and peace, it is therein implyed not only that he is the approver of thoſe Bleſſings, but the Author and Gi­ver of them. It was prophecied of Solomons Reign, that there ſhould be an abundance of Peace, and ſo it was fulfilled, till God ſtird him up Adver­ſaries, which put an end to his peace: So as if God will give a Commiſſion to any Inſtruments, to take away peace from this or that part of the Earth, it may not be expected, to continue longer there; for he will either mingle a perverſe ſpirit amongſt their Counſellors, as was threatned to Egypt, or hide the Counſels of peace from the eyes of the People, or their Leaders, whence they may be daſhed together to their mutual deſtruction and ruine.

4. The fourth and laſt thing conſiderable in this exact pattern of a civil ſtate, is the height of their courage and reſolution. It is a ſign of great proſperity and ſucceſs in any enterpriſes, when the Brethren are valiant and reſolute in the execution, as their Leaders are wiſe in their conduct. That obedience to the commands of their Superiours, is intended in a great meaſure, in the Text, I deny not, but what might be required here of that nature, may be gathered from what was ſaid under the Head of order, treat­ed of in the firſt place. In this place therefore I ſhall confine my ſelf, only to that of their courage and reſolution, which though in the laſt place to be ſpoken to, yet is not the leaſt thing conſiderable in a flouriſhing ſtate: for o­therwiſe through the cowardize and ſlothfulneſs of a people with other vi­ces attending thereon, after ages may eaſily loſe all that riches, wealth and honour, which the wiſdome and valour of the preceding have obtained: as may be ſeen in the dayes of the Judges that ſucceeded Joſhuah, and of the Kings that ſucceeded David and Solomon. Hyram concludes the proſperity of Iſrael from the wiſdome of David, and Solomon his ſucceſſour; to be ſure, when wiſe Leaders are attended with valiant people, it is eaſie to fore­tell the proſperity of ſuch a nation. The very name of David and his migh­ty men that were with him, though weary and weak-handed (as Achitophel wiſely ſuggeſted) was enough to fright Abſolom and all the men of Iſrael from purſuing their advantage: I ſhall here therefore take occaſion to diſ­courſe ſomewhat of that eminent vertue, ſo neceſſary for the flouriſhing of a people, diſpoſed into a well ordered polity. Valour is an inward virtue of the minde enabling us to perſiſt in our duty notwithſtanding the difficulty or danger thereof. They are not a little miſtaken, that think nothing is requi­red to valour, but a daring confidence to fight. ut non pena martyrem, ſic nec pugna fortem, ſeà cauſa facit. It is a lawful ſtriving as the Apoſtle tells us, that deſerves the Garland, we muſt know therefore, that there are four in­gredients neceſſary to the conſtitutioo of a valiant minde.

1. The firſt is magnanimity, or greatneſs of mind, when the Spirit is rai­ſed to ſuch a degree of courage, as not to ſtoop to low, and mean things,22 though it ſhould be to compaſs ſome ſeeming great adventage. It was the commendation of the worthies of God, that they accepted not of deliverance, ſc. upon low and baſe terms, which may be impoſed by Adverſaries. Paul will rather dy then make his glorying void: a valiant mind will rather lay down his life then keep it upon diſhonourable terms. If the men of Jbeſh-Gilead, or Ahab afterwards, had accepted of their lives or peace, upon the ignominious tearms offered by the ſuppoſed Conquerer, it had been a thing unworthy of the Iſrael of God. Nor will Nehemiah loſe his honour, as he was Governour, by fleeing to ſave his life in an hiding place of ſecurity. So neither doth Chriſtian humility require a man to ſtoop to any thing, un­becoming his Faith and Profeſſion. Paul that can yield to any thing for the honour of God, and good of others, yet will yield to nothing, nor give place for an hou••to them that will lay a ſnare for their liberty. And in another caſe of a civil nature, the ſame Apoſtle, although no Souldier, but of Chriſt Jeſus, ſtands upon his honour, and the priviledge of his freedome, when he is not fairly treated according to the dignity of a Roman. Is it lawful to ſcourge a Roman? ſuch was Pauls humility as an Apoſtle of Jeſus Chriſt, that he can be content to receive forty ſtripes of his own Nation, yet hath ſo much magnanimity that he will not yield to receive one of an Hea­then, where he hath a civil right to plead an exemption. Such magnanimity becomes the Iſrael of God, as was ſaid of Gideons Brethren, that each one ſhould reſemble the Children of a King. If it be ſaid, that in ſuch a caſe a man can do no other good, then to ſhew his will; it may be ſaid, in magnis voluiſſe ſat eſt, in matters of great moment, it is enough if a man ſhews but the reſolution of his mind.

2. A ſecond ingredient, is Confidence or boldneſs, not to be afraid of the danger or evil ſuppoſed, though it ſhould be death it ſelf. It ſeemed Joab and Abner were followed with valiant men, when they can ſo readily lay down their lives, at the command of their Captains. The Righ­teous are bold as a Lyon, ſaith Solomon, not afraid of danger, though ne­ver ſo great, either felt or feared. David will not be afraid though an Hoſt ſhould encamp againſt him, Pſal. 27.3. Fear is an embondaging affection but the true Iſrael of God are called unto liberty, therefore it becomes not them through the fear of death to be ſubject unto bondage: it was a nota­ble ſpirit of valour that diſcovered it ſelf in that Engliſh Captain, under his King in France, who being ſent to diſcover the Enemies Camp, and his num­bers, was no whit diſcouraged (by the great diſproportion that might be obſerved betwixt themſelves and the enemy) but returned this anſwer, That there was a very great many of them, enough to kill, enough to take Priſoners, and enough to run away beſides, all which came to paſs ſoon af­ter, according to his confident preſage. There hath been an extraordinary23 ſpirit of Courage, that ſome of Gods people have been endued withal, when Gods Spirit was ſaid to come upon them, as upon Samp­ſon, Judg. 14.15. when he met a Lyon, and Judg. 15.14.8. when he ſmote the Philiſtines hip and thigh; and David, when he engaged with Goliah, or Jonathan and his Armor-bearer engaging againſt the Philiſtines, and undertaking a whole Garriſon of them at once. Thus when the Spirit of God doth in any eminent manner excite and ſtir up, or actuate that innate valour of their minds, they are and will be enabled to do great things. Many a mans courage would ſerve him to fight very valiantly were he but aſſured to come off with victory or ſucceſs, at leaſt without loſs of life: but true valour argues ſuch a confidence of mind, as enables a man to look Death in the face in cold blood, as we uſe to ſay, and not to be daunt­ed with the countenance of that King of Terrour. As was ſeen in Joab, 2 Sam. 10.12. who is reſolved to behave himſelf valiantly, leaving the iſſue and ſuc­ceſs to God, to do what ſhould ſeem good in his ſight. Why ſhould not every true Iſraelite having the ſame cauſe, the ſame ſpirit of Faith, the fame promiſes, have experience of the ſame courage and confidence of minde in their meaſure.

3. In the third place, Patience is alſo requiſite, enabling them quietly to bear with all the evils they may meet with by reaſon of the diuturnity of the Act. If thou faint in the day of adverſity, ſaith Solomon, Prov. 24.10. thy ſtrength is but ſmall. It is obſervable, that God never brought about any great matter of moment, for the ſalvation of his people, but he calld the In­ſtruments therein to the exerciſe of great patience before it were accom­pliſhed; ſo that in their experiences, they muſt ſay, Qui cupit optatam curſu Multa tulit fecitque&c. At Iſraels firſt coming out of Egypt, God would not carry them by the way of the Spyes, though that was nigh, (a journey of a few dayes) leſt they ſhould faint and be diſcouraged when they ſee war. And as afterward God would try Gideons Army, before he would call them forth to war; for when that Generation that came out of Egypt upon tryal, manifeſted ſuch untractibleneſs and impatience under the hazard and difficulties of war, God ſaw meet to lay them wholly aſide, and train up their poſterity by degrees to inure and accuſtome them to bear the difficulties and hazards thereof. Amongſt Davids ſmall number that fol­lowed him while he was at Ziglag, one third part tis ſaid, was ſo faint, that they could not go over the Brook Bezor, but they were not denied their e­qual proportion in the ſpoile, which ſhewd their tarrying behind proceeded not from the want of valour in their minds, but from weakneſs in their bo­dies, which are but jumanta, or vehicula animorum: ſo that patience under evil, is very neceſſary for a Souldier.

4. In the laſt place Perſeverance, whereby we endure unto the end. This24 is a law in the civil as well as ſpiritual combate, that there muſt be holding out to the end, without which the Crown is not to be expected. It was one part of the Sacramentum militare, by which the Roman Souldiers were wont to be liſted of old, not only that they ſhould not be unwilling to dye for the Common-wealth, and engage to do whatever their Emperour ſhould com­mand, but that they ſhould never forſake the Camp while there was need of their ſervice. And to this principle was all their ſucceſs in their Wars to be aſcribed: that they were unwearied therein, of whom it was truly ſaid, that though they were ſaepius in praelio, nunquam in bello victi; though they loſt many Battels, yet their valour was ſo great, that they would never yield to adverſity. Moſes will not allow the two Tribes and an half to ſit ſtill after their own inheritance was cleared of the Enemy, till they had alſo helped to put their Brethren into the poſſeſſion of theirs, Numb. 32.6. And in the 78 Pſalm, the Pſalmiſt complains of the Children of Ephraim, that they turned back in the day of Battel, like a broken Bow. A true ſpirit of valour will alwayes ſtand bent to the ſame mark, not deceiving thoſe that truſt thereun­to. The courage of Davids mind held good after his body grew faint and weak, whereby we ſee that perſeverance is the property of a valiant minde, as well as confidence or patience.


Theſe four Conſiderations premiſed, offer a ſeaſonable word of Advice to every one that is come hither this day. As John the Bap­tiſt was furniſhed from that meaſure of heavenly wiſdome he was endued with, to give a ſatiſfying anſwer to ſeveral that came to him with this queſti­on, What ſhall we do? Luke. 3. ver. 10, 12, 14. So may any wiſe Scribe in­ſtructed to the Kingdome of God, from this text be ſupplyed to give an an­ſwer to every perſon here preſent, and met together upon this ſolemn occa­ſion, that ſhall enquire, what they ſhall doe, in reference to the buſineſs be­fore us: I preſume there is none here preſent, but will be found in one of theſe three capacityes, either of an Elector, or one elected, or a Subject un­der the charge of thoſe who are like to be continued in, or choſen to the office of an Head or Ruler in this our tribe. each one may from the premiſes, hear ſomething ſpoken unto him in the language of that Capacity wherein he ſtands before the Lord this day.

For order ſake, I ſhall in the firſt place addreſs my ſelf to ſpeak unto you that are met here as Electors. There was joy in Iſrael when the Tribes were now met together to eſtabliſh the Kingdome in the hands of David, as is ſaid in the laſt verſe of this Chapter. By proportion this day was wont to be a joyfull day unto us, being as it were the ſolemnizing of the Birth-day of our little State, the renewall of our Goverment, with all our civill priviledg­es. The Advice I ſhall preſent you with at this time is by way of Caution in the words of the Apoſtle, Gal. 5.13. You are now called to the exerciſe25 of your civill Liberty (wherein much of your other libertyes are bound up) Uſe not your liberty for an occaſion to the fleſh, but by love to ſerve one another. Thoſe that doe but ſeriouſly conſider, how much the honour of God, as well as their own good and welfare is concerned in the regular, and conſcientious proceeding in this buſineſs of Election, cannot but have a ſolemn awe upon their hearts in this work, and judge that the putting a So­lemnity upon the grandeur of the day, is the leaſt part of the ſervice thereof. I might here minde you, that although it uſes to be accounted oreo the higheſt civill priviledges a people can enjoy, to have the liberty to chooſe their owne Rulers, and not to be impoſed upon in that kinde; yet if this matter be not carefully lookt unto, ſo as to be both prudently and conſci­enciouſly carryed on, it may become an occaſion of the greateſt bondage; as hath been too ſadly verefied almoſt in all the elective ſtates and kingdoms in the world. The fatal inſtance of Abſalom makes it appear, how eaſie a matter it is to court a well meaning people into ſuch a falſe conceit of liberty, as may end in the ruine both of Electors and Elected. As was ſeen in the perſon forementioned, as in Abimelech and his Tribe long before. For they were upon the Election of a King. Certainly if they were accounted curſed deceivers, that having a male in their flock, ſhall vow and offer to the Lo•••corrupt thing, Mal 1.14. what may we think of them that being called〈…〉of their Brethren with the ſupream po­wer of Rule & Go〈◊〉, (〈◊〉f the higheſt ſervice for the glory of God & good of men) ſh〈…〉with fact on or prejudice, or byaſſed with ſelf intere,〈…〉as to chooſe perſons to ſuch a ſervice, as are neither〈…〉acceptable to wiſe men; or in in their choiſe to〈…〉thoſe that are, I mean not to attend the directions given by God himſelf, Exod 18.27. Able men fearing God &c. Yea it is expreſly commanded them, Deut. 17.15 Thou ſhalt in any wiſe ſet him••ng over thee whom the Lord thy God ſhall chuſe: whom is God ſaid to chuſe, but thoſe whom he hath not only called but fitted for ſuch office by the gifts of wiſdome and grace, which were wont to be ſignified by the holy oyle uſed to be powred on them. God doth in theſe dayes mediately ſeem to point at ſuch to rule as he was wont of old immediately to call forth to ſuch ſervice. What ever ſtrange concurrence might be ob­ſerved in the perſon of Saul, between the raſhneſs of the people to inforcing Samuel to the preſent choyce of a king, and the raſhneſs of the king in moſt of his enterpriſes (which proved a bad Omen from his firſt anoynting) whereby at laſt he ruined himſelf, and many of his people) yet was be fur­niſhed with extraordinary gifts, as ſoon as he was called to the exerciſe of his goverment. It may ſtill be expected in a true ſence, that a divine Sen­tence ſhould be in the mouth of the King, and Ruler in Iſrael.

〈1 page duplicate〉
〈1 page duplicate〉

26I will not here ingage in any diſpute whither it it be either neceſſary, or con­venient for a free people to uſe their liberty in oft changing their Magiſtrates or chief Rulers. Concerning inferiour Officers, ſuch as are Fiſcalls & Trea­ſurers, whoſe places (by reaſon of the profit they uſually are attended with) are more liable to temptation & corruption, there is no matter of danger in their change. Wiſe Hannibal, while he was Pretor at Carthage, got an Act from the Senate for the changing of ſuch great Officers every year, having obſerved how ready they were all to hold together to the obſtruction of juſtice, and oppreſſion of the people. But for the ſupream Rulers, of whom one ſayes well, that quaſi cor Reipubliae, quod mutare non expedit, i. e. that being as the heart and vitals of the Common-wealth, it is not expedient to run an hazzard in often changing of them. Another ſpeaks to the ſame purpoſe, That unleſs a Countrey be very full of skilfull and expert men, by often changing their Rulers, the Goverment will fall into the hands of rude and ignorant Mechanicks. But where the wiſdome of any Countrey hath by long experience, ſeen cauſe to continue the ſame Rulers, they had need be well adviſed, that ſhould promote any innovation, eſpecially in any diffi­cult Juncture of affairs: It cannot but be dangerous to put the helm into the hands of an unexperienced Plot in a tempeſtuous or ſtormy ſeaſon. In ſuch caſes it is moſt an end found true, as the Spaniards ſay, the evill that is preſent, is better then the good that is to come; for ſo many times a ſmall inconvenience and infirmity, is charged into an unſufferable evill. The people of Iſrael, no doubt would ſoon have found the little finger of Ab­ſoloms vices, heavier then the loynes of all Davids Infirmityes. It was good Counſell which a wiſe man of Capua once gave his fellow Citizens, that be­fore they cut off the old Senators, they ſhould find new ones that were bet­ter to place in their room, which when upon tryal they were not able to doe, they were eaſily perſwaded to continue the former in place. Let wiſ­dome and knowledge be found in our Electors, as well as in our elected Ru­lers, and that will be the ſtability of our times, and the ſtrength of Salvation. Our Election is the foundation of our Goverment. A ſmall and inconſide­rable error in the Foundation, may put the whole Building much out of or­der. As in the body natural, a defect in the firſt concction is ſeldome help­ed by the ſecond, ſo will it be found in the body politick. And in all ages, ſuch as are the Rulers, ſuch will be the people both in Church and ſtate. Therefore how doth it concern thoſe that have an oppertunity in their hands, not only to keep it, but to improve it and manage it aright, for the upholding and maintaining good order and diſcipline, both in Church and State; For if I miſtake not, any man may make both a true prognoſtick, & diagnoſtick of the athletick State of your people, through the whole order of your Goverment, both eccleaſtical and civill, by your Elections, and the27 quality of the perſons you chuſe into places of truſt, be they Superiours or Inferiours; in things ſacred as well as civill.

I am bold to ſpeak the more on this hand, that I might imprint upon all your minds, that are any way concerned in Election, a conſcientious care of your duty, and faithfull diſcharge of the truſt committed to you. It was one of the laſt requeſts that Moſes made unto the God of the ſpirits of all fleſh, juſt as he was ready to reſign up his charge, that a man might be ſet over the Congregation, which might both goe in and out before them, that the Congregation of the Lord be not as ſheep that have no ſheheard, Num. 17.16.17. Leſt they ſhould there by be left to wander every one af­ter his owne immagination, and ſo degenerate into corrupt and fooliſh wayes to their owne deſtruct on. I am not ignorant that the lot of this dayes Election is in a great part caſt into the lap, the diſpoſal thereof from the Lord we expect to know by and by: but I ſpeak for the future, and in way of caution to take heed to our Elections, for our (All) depends upon it. It was a ſad preſage of evill times approaching upon Jeruſalem, when the people were driven to ſuch miſerable ſhifts, as to ſhrowd them­themſelves under the skirts of unmeet perſons, only for the ſake of meat and clothing. Iſi. 3.6, 7. for they are the things leſt requiſite in him who is called to be an Healer, A poor and wiſe child, is better then an old and fooliſh King, ſaith Solomon, Eccleſſ 4.12. And for a man to be put into the Prieſts office, not qualified thereunto, only to eat a morſel of bread, may prove a curſe to the place, and people, as well as to that perſon, as was pronounced againſt the Family of Eli, 1. Sam. 2.36.

If any ſhould here expect that a character ſhould here be given, how to judge of ſuch men as may be accounted meet to be heads or leaders of Iſrael, the text is a full deſcription, ſuch as have underſtanding of the times to know what Iſrael ought to doe; and they who are ſuch doe diſcover themſelves, or may be diſtinguiſhed from others by theſe qualifications.

1. The fear of the Lord, and the love of Righteouſneſs. The fear of the Lord is the beginning or chief part of wiſdome as the text tells us. He that is not wiſe for himſelf or for his owne ſoul, will never be wiſe for the com­mon-wealth. They that are not of Iſrael, will not much care to know what Iſrael ought to doe. David that was a companion of them that fear the Lord, is eaſily induced to ſeek the good of all ſuch, Pſal. 122.8. What Plato ſaid of Philoſophers, we may ſay of the men that fear God, (which is the beſt wiſdome) who wiſhed that they were the only kings, or that kings were only ſuch. David, owned by God himſelf to be a man af­ter his own heart, was the ſtandard by which his Succeſſors were mea­ſured: amongſt whom you will find, that to doe that which was right, was rather a diminution then otherwiſe, unleſs it could be added, with a perfect28 heart, as did David his father. So, as to know or doe that which is right, unleſs it were out of integrity of their hearts, and conformity to the mind of God, doth not in Gods account denominate a man wiſe, or one that knows what Iſrael ought to do. God may make uſe of the common gifts of the ſpirit, or natural endowments of men unſanctifyed for the good of his people & of­ten doth when the Goverment is by providence unavoidably devolved upon them; but it may be queſtioned, whether a people can expect a bleſſing under Rulers of their own voluntary choyce, whoſe piety may upon certain & good grounds be ſuſpected, or denied, whatever their other qualifications may be.

2. Humane Learning in conjunction with the former. Such as by the benefit of natural parts Experience, Education, and ſtudy, have advantage above others to be acquainted with the affairs of the world abroad, as well as with the Laws and Cuſtomes of their own people at home. For ſeing perſons of that alloy have generally the chief managing of affairs in other Nations, as much of that as may be had, cannot but be neceſſary for the better ordering the affairs of Iſrael. It was no doubt ſome advantage to the officers of Hezekiah, in their treating the meſſengers of the Aſſyrian, that they underſtood the Syrian tongue as well as their owne. It may be preſumed that no man, unleſs a Ween Sceptick, ever did account Moſes leſs fit to be a Leader unto Iſrael becauſe he was learned in all thwiſdome of the Egyptians, a man mighty in words and in deeds. Nor Paul the leſs fit to be an Apoſtle, becauſe he ſpake with tongues more then all the reſt of the Apoſtles. Yea it appears that upon that account he is called a choſen Veſſel, the better qualifyed to be a Doctor to the Gens. And if Jptah had not had underſtanding of the times, ſc. the knowledge of things done in forepaſſed times, as well as in the preſent, it may well be queſtioned whi­ther he had been ſo fit to have been an head of the Gleadites as afterward he proved: if he had not been able to have diſputed with arguments of reaſon, as well as weapons of warr, he could not have managed the quarrel ſo ſucceſfully as he did. The chief Leaders of Iſrael before he Kings, were called Judges, a potiori parte; though the chief part of their work uſually was to be Captains of their warrs, yet they received their title from their power of Judging, which certainly required skill and knowledge of the Lawes, by which they were to judge, which how well it could be attained without help of humane learning. I doe not underſtand. It was well re­plyed by an officer of State to a Nobleman, that made ſmall account of lear­ning in the education of his ſon, (aiming at no higher learning then to be a­ble to ride an horſe, or fly an hawke) that if it were ſo, then Noble mens Sons muſt be content that mean mens children ſhould govern the Kingdom.

3. Conſtancy or ſteadineſs is another property of a wiſe man; at leaſt of one fit to be a Leader of others. Not but that a wiſe man may ſometimes29 change his mind, and his wiſdome may lead him ſo to do: Sometimes we ſay, ſecundae cogitationes ſunt meliores, but to be of a fickle, unconſtant minde, is the character of one, as Jacob ſaid to Reuben, that will never excel: He is unſtable as Water, which is, neither eaſie to be kept in any bounds, nor ob­ſervant of one conſtant motion, but apt to change upon every occaſion. In­ſtability in our wayes, is an argument both of want of faithfulneſs before men, and of ſincerity before God. Homo quadratus is the fitteſt to manage a truſt: That is the figure that ſtands ſureſt; wiſe men that act upon prin­ciples, are like an Houſe built upon a foundation that will not turn aſide by a ſudden and violent ſtorm. Sceptical men, none knows where to have them, they will not be bound to be of the ſame mind on this morning, that they were of on the laſt night: Solomon therefore adviſes to fear God and the King, and not to meddle with them that are given to change, Prov. 24.21. Theſe are Inquieta ingenia of Quick ſilver tempers, that are never quiet in any place, yet would alwayes be uppermoſt, which are obſerved to be the moſt dangerous in any ſtate. A wiſe man alwayes ſailes by the ſame Com­paſs, though not alwayes by the ſame wind. Particular actions may be changed upon occaſion, though the ſame mark be ſtill aimed at.

Moderation is another property of wiſdome, for if peace and truth be the beſt end, that all ought to aime at moderate and pacifick wayes and prin­ciples, that run not in extreams, are certainly the directeſt wayes that lead thereunto. Therefore it is obſerved that men of moderate and peaceable tempers, are both the wiſeſt, and moſt uſeful men in all Societies, Extreams are always dangerous: for as the Philoſopher ſayes of virtue, that it lies in the middle between two vices, as the extreams are oppoſites on either hand, ſo may truth generally be found in the middle between two Errors. Some men think they can never run far enough from that they hate, whereas wiſe­men can ſee as dangerous a precipice of error before them as that which they left beind them. This is too too evident in moſt of the controverſies which have been bandyed for, and againſt in our times. In moſt of which he that hath taken the leaſt view of the managing of ſuch controverſies, will finde that men of rigid and ſevere ſpirits, have miſſed both of peace and truth, the deſigne of all good and wiſe men. Thus did the Donatiſts in A­frica, and the Novatians about Rome of old, who ſeparated from all other Chriſtians, ſave thoſe of their own perſwaſion, till at laſt, there were none left either to joyn with or ſeparate from, the ſpinning of thread too fine, doth but draw the wool beyond the ſtaple, and will never hold in the weaving. Thus hath it been found in theſe laſt dayes of Reformation, the Religion of many proving like precious Liquor, too often diſtilled, till at laſt all evapo­rates into meer fume: ſome that could not be content to keep company with their honeſt minded Brethren, in the middle Kegion of revealed Truth,28〈1 page duplicate〉29〈1 page duplicate〉30(the moſt wholſome practical points of Doctrine) have ſoared ſo high aloft that they have as well loſt themſelves, as thoſe they pretended conſcience to depart from, whoſe root is rottenneſs, and their bloſſome gone up as duſt, as the Prophet ſpeaks, Iſai. 5.24. The Apoſtle Paul gives this caution to the Romans, to be wiſe to ſobriety〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. which words have an elegancy in the Greek, not eaſie to be expreſt in our Language. Rom. 12.3.

Pareus obſerves in his time, that they who did nimium〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſectari, did more hurt then good in the Reformation of the Church, Matth. 23.

It is that which highly commended the wiſdome of Baſilius Magnus in thoſe times of controverſie, in which his Lot did fall, that his moderation lead him to abſtain from ſome expreſſions in the controverſies then ſtirring (with great freedome and boldneſs uſed by others) that he might not be the envy of words and phraſes, draw upon himſelf, and in him upon the Church of God, an inevitable, and unneceſſary danger. As a great Divine of ours notes out of Gregory Nazian. "If the like wiſdome and Modera­tion had been obſerved in thoſe that earneſtly contend for truth, ſo as not to load the truth they maintain with hard & ſevere (though it may be true) expreſſions, that beget more obſtinacy in the Adverſaries, and it may be ſuſpition in the weak, or unreſolved looker on; differences amongſt men might be more ſoberly compoſed and the truth with more aſſurance en­tertained, Dr. R. on Pſal. 110. p. 372.

The words of the wiſe ſaith Solomon are heard in quiet, more then the cry of him that ruleth among fools, i.e. A wiſe man that ſpeaks without cla­mour, noyſe or contention gains more credit to his words by the weight of the matter, then another can do by the obſtreperous noiſe and loud ſound they are wont to be uttered withal.

The like wiſdome doth moderation diſcover in things of a civil nature; where many times the rigorous exaction of the ſtrict letter of the rule of Juſtice, proves unjuſt in the iſſue, and moſt unprofitable to the Cumini ſectar himſelf, or his inſtruments. According to the uſual ſaying, ſummum jus eſt ſumma injuria. The Duke of Burgundy began a quarrel with the Switzers a­bout the Toll of a load of Calve-skins, wherein he loſt his life, and all his treaſure.

5. Peaceableneſs is another property of Wiſdome; which ought to be eſteemed by the tendency it hath toward the obtaining the great end, that all ought to aym at. ſc. the honour of God, and good of Societies, which is much more promoted by peace, then by the proceeding of force. The Wo­man of Abl whom the Scripture commends for her wiſdome, diſcovered her wiſdome by her peaceable Counſel. The poor wiſe man ſaved the City, by wiſe counſel, not by weapons of War, Eccleſ. 9.15 when a great King31 came againſt it, beſieged it, built Bulwarks againſt it. There is nothing more eaſie then to begin a War, as nothing more difficult then to manage it aright, or bring it to a good iſſue: therefore is peace in a wiſe mans eye a rich booty. Contention ſaith Solomon, is like the breaking forth of water, therefore his advice is, to leave off before it be medled with, Prov. 17.14 Dlcbllum in­expertis, is a true ſaying, i. e. War uſes to be welcome to none, but thoſe that never made tryal thereof, as I fear New-England may find by woful experi­ence, which will leave a reflection of the deeper guilt, if any have had any needleſs hand in the inviting of ſuch an unwelcome gueſt into the Country. But I judge charitably of the preſent Auditors, and dare not cenſure others.

It was the ſpirit of David, one wiſe as the Angel of God, and no mean Warriour neither, I am for peace, but when I ſpeak they are for War, Pſal. 120.7. It ſeemed then David uſed not Wars but when neceſſity forced him thereunto.

In matters of Religion, who is it that gains by Contention: it is the duty of every Chriſtian to contend for the Faith once delivered to the Saints, but they ought〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉as the Apoſtle ſpeaks, Eph. 4.15. leaſt other­wiſe, the loſs of love is more matter of grief then the