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A SERMON Preached to the Honorable Ci­tizens of London, September 29. 1659. being the day of the Election of their Lord Major.

Wherein is diſtinctly ſhewed,

  • I. The Uſefulneſs of a powerful Miniſtry to the Civil Governor.
  • II. Integrity when in Conflict is moſt Ami­able and in its higheſt Glory.
  • III What Virtues are deſireable in a Good Magiſtrate.

By PHILIP NYE A Servant of Jeſus Chriſt in his Goſpel.

London Printed by Peter Cole and Edward Cole Printers and Book-ſellers, at the Printing-preſs in Cornhil, neer the Royal Exchange 1661.

Ireton Major

A ſpecial Court holden the 25. day of October, 1659, in the Afternoon.

IT is ordered that Mr. Nye be from this Court deſired to Print his Ser­mon at the Election of the Lord Ma­jor of this City.


To the Right Honorable Sr. THOMAS ALEIN Lord Major of the City of LONDON.

My Lord

Theſe few pages thus preſented to your hand at your Command, contain the meſſage of the great God, ſpoken from him to this Honorable City, and more eſpecially to your Lordſhip, being then elected the Nehemiah or Governor thereof, The publiſhing of this Sermon though thus late, yet I cannot but deem it ſea­ſonable, not only for that the word of God hath a ſeaſon even out of ſeaſon 2 Tim. 4.2. but this being the time that you give up your truſt, it doth ſeaſonably ſerve to provoke you as from the Lord, to a ſerious and ſtrict account within your ſelf how you have diſcharged it, In the Parable of the ſteward our Lord Chriſt calleth upon all any way intruſted to give an account of their ſtewardſhip, Then when they may be no longer ſtewards, Luke 15.2. My confidence thus far is, that the ſubſtance of this Sermon is ſuch, as by comparing your own heart and waies with the contents thereof. It wil prove helpful to you in the caſt­ing up your preſent great account of this years Government betwixt God and your own ſoul, which is required by him of you now to be done, you will here ſee upon what terms you took this Office of the Lord, and what he inſtructed and directed as your Lordſhips duty How much you have prized the aſsiſtance of a Godly miniſtry in carrying on your Go­vernment this year, what Eminency of ſincerity hath appeared in any dif­ficulty or Conflicts, with what a pub­lick ſpirit, with what Wiſdom, Piety, and Courage, the Government of this City hath been carried on in your Lordſhips hand, the time is now come, and God cals upon your Con­ſcience moſt ſeriouſly to conſider, there wil be a final and great account which you as we all muſt give of our ſeveral ſtewardſhips, but that wil not excuſe the omiſsion of this.

I am bold to conclude with the Apoſtles words, I now write the things unto you that you formerly heard And did then acknowledg,2 Cor. 1.13. And I truſt you will acknowledg now at the end and to the end as he there ſpeaks, And acknowledging make that uſe thereof I have been now inſiſting on. My earneſt Prayer unto God is that as this Sermon was by divine appoint­ment the Early Rain at the firſt Spring of your Government, ſo that now it may obtain the Bleſsing of the latter Rain at the Inning of the Harveſt.

Your Lordſhips moſt humble Servant PHILIP NYE,

A SERMON Preached to the Right Honorable the Citizens of the City of London upon the twen­ty ninth of September, 1659. being the day of the Election of their Lord Major.The TEXT.

Nehemiah, 6.11.

And I ſaid ſhould ſuch a man as I flee, and who is there that being as I am would go into the Temple to ſave his Life? I will not go in.

JEruſalem that famous City, had Ne­hemiah their chief Governor, ſet o­ver them by that Higher power, under which for their ſins they then were in bondage. Artaxer­xes appointed this Nehemiah to that truſt, and its more then probable Conſidering their then diſtracted Condition, they would not have choſen ſo wel for themſelves, If your juſt rights2 ſhould be taken out of your hands, yet they wil be found in Gods hand for you, who many times by a leſs pleaſing way doth better for us then we would do for our ſelves

Nehemiah was a perſon eminently qualified for a Governor, I have choſen him to be the Pattern by which you may direct your choyce this day.

As the truſt of Nehemiah was great, and the peo­ple of God greatly concerned in his well or ill ma­nagement of it, ſo was his oppoſition.

The Stratagems and Devices of Tobias & Sanballat with the great Wiſdom and courage of Nehemiah in wreſtling through and eſcaping them is the ſum of this whol Chapter. Their firſt aſſault begins with ver. 1. which was ſubtile and importunate enough but defeated; and is ſtoried in the nine firſt verſes yet ver. 10. they are on again, and with greater craft in their deſign, but to as little purpoſe though the Temple was the ſnare, and a Prophet the Driver, yet all miſcarries, this Holy man will not go into the Temple. How indefatigable are the Churches Ene­mies!

Good Nehemiah when got over one brunt He praies for ſtrength againſt another ver. 9. Now ther­fore O God ſtrengthen my hands. Such a praier at ſuch a time, a praier for ſtrength after he had found ſtrength and got the victory, evidently implies ei­ther,

Firſt, That a Good man, though he prevail in a conflict, yet may be left under ſuch feebleneſs in his mind, and diſcouragement in his work as will need a recruit from above; In our Militia if prai­er3 be neglected, we ſhall not be able to ſtand two brunts together, as at meals ſo in our Conflicts pray before and after. Or,

Secondly, If our work be great and we ſteady in it, oppoſition likewiſe wil be great and conſtant againſt it. The Enemy though every foot defeated yet wil rally again, How wil Balaam go from place to place, and try concluſions that he may find out a way to curſe Iſrael Pharoah, how oft diſappointed in his deſigns upon the people of God, yet in what a wretched Conſtancy is his reſolution to miſchief them firſt or laſt. This muſt every good Soldier of Chriſt mind, No ſooner give fire and diſcharge, but load again, and ſtand in an expecting poſture, in a readineſs to receive a ſecond aſſault.

This latter tryal of Nehemiah, by the return of Tobiah and Sanballat upon him in another ſhape, and the bleſſed Iſſue of it is that part of the ſtory only which is to be the ſubject of our preſent diſcourſe; in handling whereof two particulars are to be inſiſted upon.

  • 1. The ſnare or deſign it ſelf and great artifice uſed in the projection of it.
  • 2. The bleſſed frame of heart in this prudent and holy man by which he works through it.

For the deſign. An Apoſtat Clergy-man (Nehemiah's affection to that tribe being generally known) is hired by Sanballat and Tobias verſe 12. To ffaine Ne­hemiah into an eminent & ſuddain danger & ſuch as there is but one way in the world to eſcape it, This4 way mean and ignoble and not at all ſutable to a man of Honor. But that be may the more eaſily ſwallow all, Shemaiah muſt act the Prophet and tel his ſtory both in reſpect of the danger and means of deliverance as from the Lord. Suddain danger may gaſter a man of courage and ſo far diſcompoſe his mind, as any means of ſecurity if at hand will have eaſie entertainment, eſpecially if it be the re­lation or inſtruction of a Prophet. Which requires the exerciſe of our Faith, we ought to beleeve ra­ther then Judg of what God directs us to by his Prophets. So that theſe Impoſtors thought them­ſelves ſure now they had got a Prophet to act a part in the cheat, Nehemiah (they knew) would be taken with a Prophet, if there were any way in the world to ſeduce him.

From this particular one Obſervation.

Doct. Governors if Holy, though wiſe, yet are apt to be led by the Counſel of their Prophets.

Magiſtrates and Miniſters Princes and Prophets, have neer allyance, ſervants together under the great God and our Savior Jeſus Chriſt. The Ma­giſtrate is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉The Miniſter of God, Rom. 13.4. the other is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a Ruler over us in the Lord 1 Theſ. 5.12. their imployment is about the ſame perſons, to ſuppreſs the evil and encourage the good; Their Rule alſo that guides them the ſame; Magiſtrates are Commanded to read and medi­tate on the Law of God and learn thence his fear, Joſh. 1.8. For a man that is in honor and underſtandeth not, is5 like the beaſt that periſheth, Pſal. 49.20. And Miniſters to inſtruct them to interpret and apply this Law to the Magiſtrate and his People upon all occaſions, In any great undertakings the Lord ſtirs up their ſpirits together, the ſpirit of Zerubbabel Governor and the ſpirit of Joſhua the High Prieſt, Hag. 1.14. Theſe two Olive-trees fil the ſame bowl, Zach. 4. They are joyned together in the ſucceſs of their work, be it proſperous, Pſal. 118.19, 20. They bleſs the Lord together, if otherwiſe, they ſuffer together, Rev. 11.4.

This Contexture of intereſts begets ſuch mutual dependency of each on the other, that Nehemiah's E­nemies, venture all upon the Confidence they had, this holy man, even in what concerned publick ſafety would liſten much to a Prophet.

Application 1. Let Magiſtrates from this example of Nehemiah be watchfull and circumſpect in this reſpect, and not receive all Counſels hand over head from ſuch as give it under the Covert of this high Calling. Satan himſelf who hath the Conduct of the Churches Enemies is in the greateſt readi­neſs, thus to ſeduce Governors and Magiſtrates by cloſing with their Prophets, and ſpeak deſtru­ctive Counſels through ſuch Oracles. The Lord purpoſing Ahabs Ruine, In what a readineſs is Sa­than to pitch upon this as the ſureſt way to effect it, 1 Kings 22.21. I wil go forth, and wil be a lying ſpi­rit in all his Prophets. If Ahab ſhould have been ſhie and not value the Counſel of one or two, and ther­upon called a Synod, as in more weighty matters6 Princes are wont to do, Sathan had fitted him, and all Ahabs advantage by his Synod would have been a greater Confidence only in the way of his own deſtruction, for there was a lying Spirit in All his Prophets.

Application 2. Though it hath been thus; yet a good Magiſtrate wil value a good Miniſter, and take Counſel from him as an Oracle of God, 1 Pet. 4. Sa­than hath prevailed with the Prophets, and by them, with Princes to their undoing, yea and without them alſo, and againſt what they have Counſelled, & Magiſtrates have been unrighteous, Oppreſſors, & Tyrants over both Miniſters & peo­ple, yet Magiſtracy is the Ordinance of God, and ſo is the Miniſtry. It hath bin the practice of wiſe & ho­ly Governors in al ages to give this reſpect to their faithful Miniſters. What intimateneſs was there between Moſes and Aron in Communicating their Counſels and endeavors, the like between Joſhua and Eleazer, David takes advice from his Prophet Nathan, and Joſiah from Huldas, I ſay wiſe and holy Governors. That Magiſtrates encourage their Prophets, it is not only from their holineſs but their wiſdom, it's of ſuch a great and ſingular advantage, to the more eaſie govern­ing a City or Nation, the keeping up of a ſtir­ring and powerful Miniſtry, that wiſdom will di­rect, if no higher Principle, to put forth their au­thority this way. I ſhal the rather add a word fur­ther for the evincing hereof: becauſe our new Modellers look upon the Miniſtry as needleſs, if not7 hurtful in a Commonwealth.

That ſo great a multitude as in a City or Nation, & in ſo great a variety for diſpoſition, ſhould be kept together ruled & governed by one or a Jew perſons, This doubtleſs ſhews ſuch powers are of God, Pſal. 144.2. Who (ſaith David) ſubdueth my people under me. This the Lord doth, 1. By framing our Natures to ſociety and fitting us hereunto by principles of morality. And the good of dependency upon o­thers, for guidance and Conduct is taught us in our Childhood, and the ſenſe and truth of it nouriſhed with our Mothers Milk. 2. But that which ſtrikes the main ſtroke, and brings a People more ne­ceſſarily into ſubjection is that which Paul menti­ons. Rom 13.5. You muſt needs be ſubject not only for Wrath, but alſo for Conſcience, in which Scripture you have the two Sinews of Government, the two great Tendons by which the members of a politick body are brought to move under their head. Wrath and Conſcience, Fear of Puniſhment, Conſci­ence of Duty, The one from the Civil Magiſtrate, The Dignity Splendor and Glory that is put upon him, is to beget fear and dread in the hearts of his Subjects, and to acknowledg him the Miniſter of God, a Revenger to execute Wrath, Rom 13.3. But to bring a people into a Conſciencious ſubjection, God makes uſe of another hand, This Principle is to be planted and dayly watered by the Miniſters of the word: Jehoſophat took this courſe to bring his people into a more kindly ſubjection, He ſent his Princes or Civil Powers, and with them the Levites and Prieſts, and they had the Book of the Law of the Lord with8 them, and went through all the Cities of Judah and taught the people, 2 Chron. 17.7, 8. And this latter of the two is not only the more honorable, but the more ſure and Conſtant; for though Wrath puts a muſt or ne­ceſſity as wel as Conſcience in reſpect to our obedi­ence, yet with this difference, obedience from Con­ſcience is willing and out of love, for Conſcience hath its ſeat above all the faculties of the Soul, and brings them into obedience naturally, But Wrath takes hold of the lower and more ſervile part of the Soul, our Fear and Paſſion, and ſubdues us by violence, like putting a Shackle upon the Foot, by which a man may guide his beaſtindeed, but it wil be with much more ſtrife and difficulty, A Bitt in the mouth, or a Hook in the Noſtrill, the Superior and leading part of the Creature governs & guides it more naturally, and every limb or member fol­loweth each other in a more kindly motion. 1 Cor. 9.16. A neceſſity is laid upon me, yea, wo is unto me if I preach not the Goſpel, ver. 17. If I do this willingly if againſt my wil; where moved from the Woe or Wrath only, there may be Obedience, though a­gainſt our wil, but if there be alſo Conſciencious ne­ceſſity, a willingneſs will naturally follow.

It is alſo a more ſure & Conſtant obedience, Con­ſcience hath the unchangeable word of God for its foundation, a people ſo ſubdued will ſtick cloſe in their Obedience. Thoſe that fear God will honor the King, where there is a Conſcience, and thence a giving to God what is Gods, there will be a giving to Caeſar what is Caeſars. As the Lord hath granted the uſe of an Oath (though a Worſhip peculiar to him­ſelf9 So alſo hath he the uſe of Conſcience to the Civill Magiſtrate to oblige his Subjects in obedience to him. Theſe are additionals out of the Treaſury of his Holineſs, and of great importance in the ma­naging of Civil affairs both which have their edg and Efficacy by the Conſtant whettings of a powerful Miniſtry.

There is therefore this reaſon of State, why Go­vernors ſhould much eſteem the Miniſtry, for, without it, they know not how to rule in the Lord nor the people to obey in the Lord, that is, from a principle of Conſcience, there will be no free ſub­jection where there is no Conſcience and reſpect to God in our obedience to men: if we have no­thing but Wrath and Violence to ſubdue a people, we govern men as men govern Beaſts, as God governs the Devils and damned in Hell, they beleeve and tremble, and in a City or Nation ſo governed there is nothing but weeping and gnaſhing of Teeth, miſery with Contempt and indignation againſt the pow­ers that are over us, and have brought it upon us.

We come now to the ſecond Branch and what ariſeth more imediately out of the Text.

And I ſaid ſhal ſuch a man as I flee &c. wherein,

1. The Evil he was tempted unto: To flee, that is to go into the Temple and ſo make an eſcape, The Temple as a place of ſecurity, either Natural for its ſtrength, or Moral for its priviledg. The City lay open having yet no Gates or doors to ſe­cure the Inhabitants, ver 1. but the Temple had,10 and therefore more ſafe, of this he is minded by shemaiah verſe 10. Let us ſhut the doors of the Temple. Or as a priviledg'd place: Malefactors that are under guilt and fear, Flee to the Temple and take hold of the Altar, as a refuge and ſecurity againſt Death & puniſhment, ſo Joab fled unto the Tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold of the Horns of the Altar, 1 Kings 2.28. Which to do, though it be no ſin or evil in it ſelf, yet in the Circumſtances, it was ſo diſhonorable, and unſutable to his ſpirit and place, as he would die rather then do it.

There were theſe Circumſtances would have rendred it evil to him more then to another. Firſt, He was accuſed of Treaſon, that he would be King and cauſe the people to rebell againſt Artax­erxes, now if he had fled, and taken the courſe uſu­all with Malefactors for refuge, it would have implied a Guilt and ſtrengthened the ſuſpicion. Secondly, If he had betaken himſelf to the Temple for ſecurity only and defence, yet ſuch a fear in a Governor would have been a great diſcourage­ment to all under him, this thing thoſe that laid the deſign, had as a Main in their eye and intention, knowing if they could make him afraid, the advantage they had thereby to hinder the work. Compare his praier, and the ground of it as both are laid down in ver. 9. They all made us afraid (endeavored ſo to do) ſaying their hands ſhall be weakned from the work that it be not done, Now therefore O God ſtrengthen my hands. That this was the drift and ſcope of their wicked deſign upon him, and the danger he eſcaped, cleerly appears in verſ, 13.11 therefore was He hired, the Prophet that came as from God, that I ſhould be afraid and do ſo and ſin, and that they might have matter for an evil report that they might reproach me.

The ſnare was ſo cunningly laid, that as there was the concernment of his life and the Ruines of the publick affaires depending upon it on the one hand to drive him into it, ſo was there not any thing ſimply evil or peccatum inſe to diſcourage on the other hand. Some Punctilio's only of honor and Credit, which to neglect is a ſin, in ſome caſes only. In caſe of life and death, the nature of ſuch omiſſions is much altered, So that had there not been a very exquiſite mould of Spirit in Nehemiah, and choyce Graces, and in a readineſs for exerciſe, he had been undone, and the people of God with him: And had not he been thus exerciſed, the luſtre of thoſe Graces had not ſo eminently appea­red unto us.

There is no poſture of a man, whoſe heart God hath wrought to himſelf in truth and ſincerity, wherein Grace and vertue appears in greater luſtre and Glory then when he is found in ſome conflict or under ſome difficulties: What then he is, he wil appear to be, and what he then appears to be, he is indeed. It is ſo with a Magiſtrate, with a Nehemiah. Afflictions and oppreſſions are trialls, And as Gold ſhines and brightens moſt when in the fire, ſo doth our Faith, and Love, and Hope, and every Grace. A Horſe is at no time ſo gallant a Creature as when mounted in Battel, at each Bog­gle12 & fright, his Eye, his Ear, his Noſtril, every limb throughout appears in a freſher perfection.

A Saint, when his Graces become his Armour, Faith when a shield, Hope when a Helmet, Righte­ouſneſs when a Breaſt-plate &c. Then have you a Saint in a moſt taking beauty. A Chriſtian cannot exerciſe any Grace at ſuch a time, but what is of proof and Grace indeed, Grace in ſtrength and vi­gor. When the Church is in Conflict, when as an Army with Banners, then Chriſt as one taken with her, cries out Thou art beautiful O my Love thou art comly, Cant. 6.4. And how earneſtly doth he beg a­nother look while ſhee is in this poſture verſe 13. Return Return O Shulamite that we may look upon thee.

The Lord himſelf never appears in ſo glorious a preſence as when the LORD OF HOSTS. And what a Glory was that in which Chriſt ſhined when Judas with his band of men came to take him, I am He, ſaith Chriſt, and no ſooner ſpoke it, but being aſtoniſhed they fell backward John 18.6. ſo you that are our Magiſtrates, our gods here amongſt us, whatſoever there is of true excellency in you wil at ſuch a time radiate and ſhew it ſelf. And if to be ſteady and reſolute in a matter of Juſtice & Piety, ſeem vile in the Eyes of others and they deride, your reſolution will riſe with Davids even to be more vile. Where Grace is in pretence and ſhew only, like the ſtony ground, there wil be a withering in ſuch heats and conflicts, for what we only ſeem to have, is now taken away, But to him that hath at ſuch a time eſpecially, it ſhal be given: Ther­fore ſuch men in their Conflicts wil be as Jacob in his13 wreſtling He was for power with God as a Prince Gen. 32.28. ſuch was the perfection and glory of his Graces appearing in that conflict Having therefore the ad­vantages of this poſture of Nehemiah to draw his perfections more to life, I ſhall now ſhew you the Graces and Vertues in particular that are ſo emi­nently conſpicuous in this Man, heigthned and ſhineing forth in this his conflict and victory, which ought to be attended and looked after in whom­ſoever you ſhall this day chooſe for your Nehemiah.

They are theſe.

Firſt you have in this Man a publick Spirit; ſhall I go into the Temple to ſave my life? ſhall I pre­ferr my private before the publick? There is one thing more to a Man then life, his Eternity, immor­talitatem quidem contra Rempublicam non acceperim, ſaid a Heathen. Moſes & Paul knew what they ſaid when thoſe tranſcendent and unparaleld expreſſions of a publick Spirit broke forth. Exod. 32.32. Rom. 9.3. But to keep in the rode of what is exemplary and i­mitable, There is nothing in this World deerer to us than life. Job. 2.4.

Yet where a publick Spirit, how eaſily and freely will ſuch a Perſon proſtrate and lay his very life as an out-work for the Defence and Security of the publick. Eſther a woman, and that Sex moſt tender, and timerous of death, eſpecially when in ſo much proſperity, yet having the welfare of her people in her Eye, how confidently doth ſhe engage, and with what a manly reſolution defie all perſonal concer­ments, IF I PERISH I PERISH, Magi­ſtrates are Shepherds Mich. 5.5. Eſay, 44.28.14 the good Shepherd ſaith Chriſt, will not flee and ſecure himſelf, leaving his ſheep to the Wolf but the good ſhepherd will give his life for the ſheep, Joh. 10.11.12.

Shall I go into the Temple to ſave my life? the actings of a publick Spirit riſe up here to a very high degree, it is a reſolution: (ſuch is his zeal for the publick) as he will not put it upon ſo much as an Hazard to ſecure his neereſt concerments, no not lire it ſelf. I ſay hazard, for it was not a certain loſs. It was not ſaid if you go into the Temple, you ruine all, but it was told him peremptorily, and by a Prophet, and the time when and the manner how, his life would certainly be loſt, if he did not take refuge there, & at that time he knew not the contrary, for it was afterwards perceived by him verſe 12.

Magiſtrates ought not to put the welfare of the Publick upon the leaſt hazard for the aſcertaining their own enjoyments, though of greateſt impor­tance, This man would never have been brought to put the publick not only upon Hazard but certain loſs and detriment, as it's too frequent amongſt us, for the ſecuring to our ſelves or friends, matters of leſs importance then life. It's a ſad Omen to find men Baruch like ſeeing great things for themſelves, though they ſee at the ſame time all going to ru­ine, the Lord breaking down what he hath built, and plucking up what he had planted Jer. 45.

Two things ſhould awaken each of you to fear leſt a private narrow ſpirit ſhould ſurpriſe you. The firſt and that which is more general, the Times we are fallen into, long ſince before propheſied of15 2 Tim. 3.1, 2. In the laſt daies ſhal come perilous times (perilous and dangerous to the publique) for men ſhal be lovers of their own ſelves Covetous, Proud, &c.

The perilous evil of a private ſpirit is there decla­red with its wretched principles from which it ari­ſeth, Men ſhal be lovers of their own ſelves, and the im­mediate root of it Pride, a proffeſſed high eſteem of themſelves, when a man ſeriouſly believes that he much excels others, as the Phariſe Lord I thank thee I am not as other men, accordingly he be­comes a lover of himſelf, for what we deem beſt we love moſt, & thence this private narrow ſpirit im­propriates all to it ſelf as being moſt worthy.

1. They are ſaid to be Proud. Pride Elevates, a proud man looks upon himſelf, though indeed but a member, yet equal in value and worth with the whole Body and reducing the whole body into one member, and deſtroy community to preſerve pro­priety, and if ſo, then where is the body as the Apoſtle ſpeaks? this deſtroys the very being of a Corpora­tion, for its of the Eſſence of a Body to be made up of many members, yea and each through humility, to be members one of another, Rom. 12. Let no man think of himſelf more highly then he ought for we being many are one body and every one members one of ano­ther, verſe 3, and 5. That which is the original of confuſion in politick bodies, it's thinking of our ſelves more highly then we ought, and according­ly our care and proviſion will be for our ſelves as only worthy of it without any reſpect unto others, hence the Apoſtle joyns theſe together again, Phil. 2.3. Let nothing be done through vain Glory but in lowli­neſs16 of mind let each eſteem other better then themſelves.

The Second is, Lovers of our own ſelves; an im­moderate love to our ſelves, it ſeems by this ex­preſſion that the love we bear to our ſelves, ariſeth, not only from the high opinion of our ſelves and conceipt of a goodneſs and thence an amiableneſs more in our ſelves then in other men, but alſo from an intimate propriety, we are our OWN SELVES, we are more our own, and intereſt our ſelves in our ſelves ſo much, as others are ſcarcely owned by us, or with any equal regard as they ought, love is fed and nouriſhed more plentifully from pro­priety and intereſt then property or worth, So this ſelf Love being in ſuch a meaſure, even preſſed down and running over in their own boſoms there is no place for that affection that ſhould be extend­ed to our Neighbours, and therefore in the ſame Text they are ſaid to be〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉without common af­fection, love is the moſt extenſive vertue and car­ryeth forth ſervice with it which way ſoever it moveth ſerve one another in love, where love is kept in and ſet upon our ſelves only, we wil ſerve and care for none but our ſelves: hence the Apoſtle gives this praiſe of love where rightly diſpoſed 1 Cor. 13.4, 5. love puffeth not up, ſeeketh not her own, by love we ſerve one another as well as our ſelves.

But more eſpecially, and what is a more pecu­liar ſnare, to Citizens, Is their breeding and Edu­cation, you have been al along for your ſelves and ever ſince your apprentiſhip hath bin out, ever ſince you have been free men you have ſet up for your ſelves, whereby you are as it were habitually diſ­poſed,17 to bring all you deal with to ſome good ac­count to your ſelves, and privat eſtates. It wil be found very hard when you come to be publick Perſons, to do otherwiſe unleſs there be very great care and circumſpection. The manifold monu­ments of a publick Spirit in the pious and charita­ble works extant in many parts of the Nation ſhew that divers Honorable Citizens have had their minds raiſed to ſuch a publick heigth that great things have bin done by their right hand that their left hand knew not. Yet never the leſs this is an ex­perienced truth, That Perſons that never raiſed but inherited their Eſtates, and better acquainted with ſpending then getting, are thereby diſpoſed to a more noble and free way in publick employments. What an inſtance of a free and generous ſpirit have you in this man, Chap. 5.14. For the time that I was their Governor that is twelve years, I and my Bre­thren have not eat the bread of the Governour, The alow­ance the State made him, his due, not, as a gift, but debt, for its RENDER not GIVE unto Caeſar, Math. 22. But the Governours before me were chargeable unto the people, yea even their Servants bare rule over the people, I continued in the work, and my Servants, neither bought we any Land ver. 16. Moreover there were at my Table one hundred and fifty Jews beſides many others dayly ver. 17. and the proviſion he made was not only for neceſſity but delight Choyce Sheep, Foules, ſtore of all ſorts of Wine, as ver. 18. yet for al this required not I the bread of the Governour becauſe the bondage was heavy up­on this People. He might in ſuch a hard time, have laid down his table having ſo good an excuſe;18 and its further obſervable were plentiful Ta­bles kept up by Governours only for glut­tony and exceſs or out of pride and vain glory, a man fearing God, would have been glad of the opportunity to lay them down, But Nehemiah knew ſuch entertainments, kept up the dignity and honor of Government, and that theſe vulgar en­couragements do much ſweeten the ſeverity of Magiſtracy, and for theſe and the like Reaſons of State deems them ſo neceſſary as he wil rather con­tinue them at his own charge, then either break up houſe or be chargeable to the people in ſuch bad times. This ſhews that this man was of a moſt exact Publick Spirit, and being united to the Commonality by his relation he becomes one ſpirit with it.

2. He was a Man of HONOR, as perſons of quality ought to be, 1. in knowing their own worth and 2. in doing what is ſutable to it. Such a man as I and ſuch a man as I flee. 1. What a man was he? Anſ. A Governour a publick perſon engaged in publick ſervice for his Country. To be a Magiſtrate is to be a perſon worth ten thouſand of others, ſo the people told David 2 Sam. 18.3. They are termed in ſcripture Dominions, Dignities or Glories Jude 8. Gods, and Sons of the moſt high Pſa. 82.6. this ſheweth the great excellency of Magiſtracy, that as of ſwearing Heb. 6.13. becauſe not a greater to ſwear by, God ſware by himſelf: ſo becauſe not a greater Name to give them, he names them from himſelf, a name above all names, given only to Angels, the moſt excellent of all Creatures, and to Magiſtrats19 who are the moſt excellent of al men. God himſelf calleth them gods and we eſteem them worſhipful; And for the preſervation of their juſt eſteem Na­ture it ſelf hath taught, and Scriptures owned ſuch external reſpects and veſtments of ſtate as may di­ſtinguiſh Magiſtrates from, and dignifie them above other men? Their Pallace, Attendants, Entertain­ments. A Sword, a Mace and other pagentries, ac­cording to the guiſe of the Country, when they go abroad, Theſe things are not enſignes of vain glo­ry, but the neceſſary vtenſils, by which the worth and excellency of Magiſtrats is notified to the com­mon people, it being a language beſt underſtood by the generality.

Accordingly Nehemiah underſtands and owns himſelf, as it he had ſaid ſuch a one am I. The Go­vernour of Jeruſalem, of the people of God, ſuch a one as ought to have my mind raiſed ſutable to all the honour, titles, obſervances, and enſignes of greatneſs belonging to my place. And ſhall ſuch a one as I flie? as he hath a ſpirit ſutable to his place, ſo a deportment ſutable to his ſpirit. Shal I, ſuch a one as I do ſuch a thing, ſo much below me, unſutable to me?

There is to each condition and rank of men a〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a Comlineſs, ſeemlineſs, decorum, expedi­ence, which if not regarded, we ſin and tranſgreſs againſt the honor & dignity of our place. Are you not carnal? and walk as men, 1 Cor. 3.3. why they were men it's true, and more, Saints, which is a higher order of men, thoſe that are mere men, men and no more, do ſuch things with leſs blame, ſo Magiſtrates,20 are not only men, but a higher rank and order of men. Beſides evils that are ſimply ſuch we have in the Scripture mention of other matters to be a­voided, Eph. 5.3. Fornication and all Ʋncleanneſs let it not be once named amongst you as becometh Saints. The needleſs mentioning of them is forbidden as ſin, the nameing of them, forbidden to Saints and under the notion of uncomlineſs, and inconveniency verſe 4. Though no tranſgreſſion of any expreſs precept, yet if it be a breach of Common order (in ſuch matters) it becomes Circumſtantially evill. That's ſutable in apparel to a man that is not to a woman, and yong men do ſuch things as are not Comly in the aged, ſo a private man may do that without blame, as is hateful in a Magiſtrate. There are not only real evils, but things which have the appearance of evil, and ought to be avoided, 1 Theſ. 5.22. ſuch things as being done by ſome perſons or with ſome Circumſtances become in the eyes of o­thers, a ſpecimen or fruit of an evil principle in the man. Paul refuſed Maintenance from the Corinthi­ans when he took it in other places, to avoid the appearance of a mercenary ſpirit, and gives this as the reaſon 2 Cor. 8.21. We muſt provide for honeſt things not only in the ſight of the Lord but in the ſight of men. There is nothing ſimply evil or diſhoneſt but what is ſo in the ſight of God.

As Magiſtrates give Laws to their peo­ple, ſo the WONTS and CUSTOMS of a Peo­ple, in what is not ſimply evil ought to be a Law to the Magiſtrate, as wel as others. Accord­ing to the general notion of what is Noble, Fair,21 Juſt, Honeſt, in the eſteem of the common people, if it be without ſin or notable error, we muſt and Magiſtrates and publick perſons eſpecially muſt be ſubject thereunto You have the heads of ſuch Laws laid down, Phil. 4.8. Finally Brethren, whatſoe­ver things are true, whatſoever things are Honeſt, whatſoe­ver things are juſt, whatſoever things are pure, whatſoever things are lovely, whatſoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praiſe, think of thoſe things. Theſe Laws have alſo their penalties and rewards, from the multitude according as they are obſerved or neglected, namely the general praiſe or reproach of men. A man ſhal be commended accor­ding to his wiſdom, but he that is of a perverſe heart [he cares not whom or what he Croſſes] ſhal be deſpiſed Prov. 12.8. A man muſt be of vaſt merits in the eyes of all men, that will be ſingular and of a pecu­liar humor and not be extreamly contemned.

This was the thing the enemies of Nehemiah would have put upon him, to do unlike himſelf, and otherwiſe then what the Law of vulgar expectation laid upon him, and upon Magiſtrates, Though there had been no diſhoneſt thing in the ſight of God, & his life lay on it, yet if he ſhould not have anſwered what the World expected, they would have ſpoken evill and puniſhed him with Re­proaches as verſe 13. which he looked upon, and indeed is, a matter of great Conſequence to a Ma­giſtrate or perſon of publick imployment, Paul was of his judgment and choyce in ſuch a caſe and pro­feſſeth, it were better for him to die than that he ſhould make his glorying void, 1 Cor. 9.15. Jeſus22 Chriſt himſelf engaged in publick ſervice, en­quires how he ſtood in the opinion of men Math. 16.13. What do men ſay of me?

As you are called gods, ſo mind your Glory, that is, know who you are, and do like your ſelves, we can mind our ſelves, and who we are, if an affront or neglect be given from want of obſervance from others, Shall ſuch a one as I bear it? do not you know my Lord Major? &c Let him and all in Au­thority know themſelves, and do accordingly and they wil be acknowledged, their works wil diſco­ver and praiſe them in the Gate Prov. 31.

3. A man of Courage and Reſolution, Conſtant and fixed in his Courſe; there is nothing within or without ſhall daunt him, talk to him of danger, Death, adviſe him to ſtoop but a little below him­ſelf, and it wil be his ſecurity: No, ſaith Nehemiah a man of Courage will rather take the bullet, though it take his life than make a ſtoop at the re­port to avoid it another man may do this, but it be­comes not a Soldier. Shal ſuch a man as I flee? Shal I go into the Temple to ſave my life? I will not go in, I will not ſave my life upon ſuch terms. Courage is re­quiſite to thoſe that are publick perſons in Civil as wel as in Military imployment, hence they mutu­ate titles, as Dux, Eques, Armiger, Major &c. Thus God to Joſhua, Joſh 1.6. Be ſtrong and of a good Courage again verſe 7. ONLY be thou ſtrong and very Couragi­ous, as if it were the All of a Ruler. Shall I go into the temple? I will not go in, this repetition ſhew­eth the fixedneſs of his reſolution, like that of Paul, 2 Cor. 11.12. What I do I will do that I may cut23 of occaſion from them that ſeek occaſion &c. An uneven unſteady Magiſtrate, is the ſame at ſomtimes, that an eaſie and weak one is at all times, and the ſame advantages may be taken upon him, if we do but put our ſelves to the trouble to wait our ſea­ſon. I have ſaid you are Gods, ye ſhall die like men, to be a god is to be above all fears, all Hopes, all Temptations, to be immutable and not to ap­pear ſo much as in the ſhadow of a change. Ye ſhall die like men, til Death comes, you are gods, there ſhal be no diminution of your god-head, of your greatneſs by me, if you diminiſh it not your ſelves, keep up therefore a Courage anſwerable.

4. Wiſdom, This is another Star in the Conſtel­lation, Nehemiah by his great reach and depth of underſtanding, was able to ſee through all their Colors and ſubtil pretentions To diſappoint the de­viſes of the Crafty, Job 5.12. is mentioned as a Chara­cter of the greateſt wiſdom.

Eliſha begs that the Spirit of Elias may be doubled upon him, becauſe he was to be a publickTeacher, that is, he muſt now teach himſelf and others, ſo a Magiſtrate muſt ſeek of God a double ſpirit of wiſ­dom, becauſe he is not only to govern himſelf, but a City A Nation. The leaſt Star is ſufficient to give light to it ſelf, but no leſs then a Sun is ſufficient to inſpect a world. The want of wiſdom in a Magi­ſtrate as it is of greateſt detriment to his people, ſo with greateſt difficulty ſupplied. Men of weak and low parts have ſuch Jealouſies of thoſe that are more able, that for the moſt part they carry on their Counſels rather with perſons of the ſame24 proportion for wiſdom with themſelves.

5. Holineſs Nehemiah was a perſon that feared God, of great Integrity and uprightneſs. It may be ſaid of him as of David Pſal. 78.72. He fed them accor­ding to the integrity of his heart and guided them by the skilfulneſs of his hand, where ſkilfulneſs or wiſdom and Integrity meets, it's of ſingular advantage in Goverment, under ſuch Governors We may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godlineſs and Honeſty. GODLINES wil thrive if planted in a City in a Na­tion though the Governors be enemies to it, but this is that great and choyce bleſſing and Priviledg enjoyed by a people where ſuch perſons Govern, we may not only be Honeſt but Godly, and this not only in ſome parcels of devotion according to the mode of the times, But in all Godlineſs, & theſe bleſ­ſed Privildges enjoyed, not in Corners and with difficulty and moleſtation, hunted from place to place, but all godlineſs with a quiet and peaceable life where ſuch Magiſtrates, are over us. HONESTY with quiet and peace may be our portion and enjoyed if a Heathen or Infidel were our Gover­nor, But a freedom to be Godly and according to this extent with quiet to be expected only where a Nehemiah is Governor.

6. Humility, What a deal of this Grace, lies out viſi­ble in thoſe few words who is there that being as I am would do otherwiſe than I do. Although his doing was ſo ſingular, as you wil not find ſuch Honor, ſuch Courage, ſuch a publick Spirit, no not in one Go­vernor of a hundred, yet he aſſumes nothing unto himſelf peculiar, I have done but what any man25 would have done. There are that for doing half ſo much for the publick think themſelves to have merited red Letters, and for half ſo much Self de­nial, ought to have a place in the Calendar. Peter was a godly man a chief Apoſtle, yet found in as great a diſtance in the frame of his ſpirit from this of Nehe­miah's as the Compaſs of Grace can well permit. Maſter ſaith he Math. 26.23. though all ſhould be offen­ded, yet wil I never; He conceits himſelf ſingular for Courage and Conſtancy and all, no man ſhall ſhew himſelf ſo reſolute, no man ſhal do as I wil do, yet found, even in this a very common perſon, and in­ferior to his fellow Diſciples.

Applic. 1. To you that are to chooſe, a great truſt is committed unto you, the welfare of the moſt famous City in the world, another Jeruſalem, a City inhabited by the people of God.

1. Be not Carried on in this work by old Cus-TOMS and WONTS, why ſhould you depute in ſo great a work ſo blind a Guide, yet we are brought to it in moſt Elections, and thereby loſe one of the choyceſt Priviledges that belong unto us as Citi­zens.

Moſes chooſeth Joſhna who was ful of the ſpi­rit of wiſdom, Where are ſuch to be found, if not amongſt your ſelves? Covet the beſt Gifts, lower then what the Apoſtle hath about Widows, we may not go in placing this honor, 1 Tim. 5.3. Ho­nor Widows that are Widows indeed, chooſe ſuch as may be Magiſtrates indeed and not in ſhew only; where Electors are thus Conſciencious in this work, the Properties, though not the Perſon of a good26 Governor will be the ſame every year, and ſo he­reditary, and for ever, though your Election be yearly.

2. Your Judgments rather than your Affections ought to be exerciſed in this work. It's God only that chooſeth perſons from the good pleaſure of his wil, and it's peculiar to his ELECTION, and ſo great a prerogative, as ſome are unwilling to yeild it him. But for us men, we muſt chooſe ex praeviſis operibus, Qualities and Virtues, rather than perſons muſt be the moſt immediate object of our choyce, It is no error in the Doctrine of this Election, but much of our duty this day is expreſſed in it, and accordingly I ſhal leave each mans Conſcience un­der this the Apoſtles charge, 1 Tim. 5.21. I charge thee before God and the Lord Jeſus Chriſt and the Elect An­gels that thou obſerve theſe things without preferring one before another doing nothing by partiality.

3. I need not add, where there is ſo much Civi­lity, what might be ſutable, if this Election were in ſome hands, namely, that though there be a Praeterition, yet there muſt not be a Reprobation in your Election, How ſadly men have ſuffered in their names, and what advantages malicious minds have taken in ſuch competitions to ſink men under Color of Compariſon ſeeking their revenge, upon the Credit and repute of whom they pleaſe, is not unknown to you. You may each of you that are Electors commend your man and do it to the ut­moſt, and yet (according to that old and honeſt phraſe) without Compariſon.

Laſtly, having elected your perſon, there is a27 ſpecial Obligation laid upon you that are Electors, that you ſubmit and yeild Obedience unto the Per­ſon you have choſen for your Magiſtrate, and it ought to be done with ſuch freedom and affection as that you may provoke and become examples unto others in the like Obedience, for he is your choice, The great God and Governor of the world put not himſelf upon us, no not upon thoſe, of whom he expects his moſt peculiar and affectio­nate ſubmiſſion. But as he hath choſen them, ſo he enclines their wills to chooſe him, and this be­cauſe cauſe choyce is the ſpring of all willing and free o­bedience, And therefore Joſhua, having a purpoſe to bring his people into a more ſtrict ſubmiſſion unto God, puts them upon a new Election of him, Chap. 24. and having brought it to paſs, he makes it ſolemn and ſignal, by expreſs ſtipulation ver. 22. And Joſhua ſaid unto the people, Ye are Witneſſes againſt your ſelves, that ye have choſen you (or for your ſelves) the Lord to ſerve him, And they ſaid We are witneſſes. Witneſs againſt your ſelves, if now you be diſobedient having choſen him, for out very Election, is a chooſing to ſerve, as the phraſe is there, a chooſing to ſubmit, to obey; yea and to bring others alſo into obedience with you, Joſhua undertakes not only for himſelf, but his Houſhold, ver. 15. to ſubmit where he hath made choyce: do you likewiſe, in your own perſons and all your re­lations honor and obey whom this day you ſhall chooſe, and as you of the Common Counsel of this City, in this choyce go before and repreſent28 others, ſo in your ſubmiſſion and aſſiſtance be Ex­amples unto others.

If he be not worthy, whom you have choſen, it wil be your unhappineſs but not diſpence with your duty, if he be an Idol, he is the workmanſhip of your own hands and you that have made an I­dol muſt be contented to bow down & worſhip it.

Applic. II. to you that ſhall this day be choſen our Governor, our Nehemiah, now begin to be a God, the name is coming upon you, meet it with a ſutable frame of Heart, that you may not take his name in vaine, be you holy as he is holy, like min­ded, like affected, love what he loves, perſons, things, and hate what he hates, yea with a per­fect hatred. Whatſoever your hand finds out to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledg, nor wiſedom, in the grave, whither thou goeſt, Eccl. 9.10. While you are gods, and in place, be like your ſelves, afterwards you become men again, you are (as it were) in the grave, and then you are like other men, Moſes prays that he might be able to number his days, and know how long he had to live, that he might ap­ply his heart to wiſedom, your dayes are numbe­red to you, you know to a day, the longeſt day you are to govern, make the ſame uſe of it, meditate your duty, as it hath been ſhewed you in Nehe­miah, I cannot go over all the particulars, but this is a principal one and to be remembred in the firſt place. Be of a publick Spirit, there is but one Lord Major for the whole City, as but one Sun for the whol world, you muſt travail a greater compaſſe29 that you may be light and comfort to both Hem­iſpheres, to the Miniſters, to their people, to all perſons in all places, to rich, to poor, to ſervants and Maſters, to Orphans and Widowes &c. If you be an Olive tree, you muſt not ſay, ſhall I leave my fatneſſe? or a Fig tree, ſhall I forſake my ſweetneſs? no though you be a Vine, you muſt leave your fruitfulneſs, that is, to bring forth to your ſelf, which if you do, you will be accounted an empty Vine. Conſider, 1. You are men, men of note and eminency before this choyce, It will be for your own honor and comfort, how deſireable is it for any of you to have the ſtory of his life, the ſtory of his Mairolty, to end like the ſtory of Morde­cai Eſth. 1.1. Mordecai was next to the King, great a­mongſt the Jewes, thoſe that profeſs godlineſs ſeeking the wealth of his people; not his own profit. There is alſo great Equity in it, for therfore he receiveth perqui­ſites that being Gods Miniſter he may attend continually upon this thing. Rom. 13.6.2. You are Chriſtians, & as ſuch, you pretend to the moſt publick end as your chief, the glory of God, now there is nothing con­duceth more hereunto, then this, to be of a pub­lick ſpirit, 1 Cor. 10.31. whatſoever you do, do all to the glory of God, how ſhall we ſo do verſ. 33. even as I pleaſe all men in all things, not ſeeking my own profit, but the profit of many. Paul was able to forbear the glory of Heaven, that he might be ſerviceable here on earth. Phil. 1.23, 24.


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TextA sermon preached to the Honorable citizens of London, September 29. 1659. being the day of the election of their Lord Major. Wherein is distinctly shewed, I. The usefulness of a powerful ministry to the civil governor. II. Integrity when in conflict is most amiable and in its highest glory. III. What virtues are desireable in a good magistrate. By Philip Nye a servant of Jesus Christ in his gospel.
AuthorNye, Philip, 1596?-1672..
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SeriesEarly English books online.
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Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 155:E1048[6])

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Bibliographic informationA sermon preached to the Honorable citizens of London, September 29. 1659. being the day of the election of their Lord Major. Wherein is distinctly shewed, I. The usefulness of a powerful ministry to the civil governor. II. Integrity when in conflict is most amiable and in its highest glory. III. What virtues are desireable in a good magistrate. By Philip Nye a servant of Jesus Christ in his gospel. Nye, Philip, 1596?-1672.. [6], 29, [1] p. printed by Peter Cole and Edward Cole printers and book-sellers, at the Printing-press in Cornhil, neer the Royal Exchange,London :1661. [i.e. 1660]. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Novem 14".) (Thomason copy bound with items from 1660.) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Sermons, English -- 17th century.

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Publication information

  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A89792
  • STC Wing N1500
  • STC Thomason E1048_6
  • STC ESTC R208118
  • EEBO-CITATION 99867108
  • PROQUEST 99867108
  • VID 119398

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