PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S ON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1627.
Exod. IV. 13.
O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.
It hath been suspiciously doubted, and more than that, freely disputed, and more than that too, absolutely denied, that Christ was born the five-and-twentieth of December; that this is Christmas-day: yet for all these doubts and disputations, and denials, we forbear not, with the whole church of God, constantly and confidently to celebrate this for his day. It hath been doubted, and disputed, and denied, too, that this text, 0 my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send, hath any relation to the sending of the Messiah, to the coming of Christ, to Christmas-day; yet we forbear not to wait upon the ancient fathers, and, as they said, to say, that Moses having received a commandment from God to undertake that great employment of delivering the children of Israel from the oppressions of Pharaoh in Egypt, and having excused himself by some other modest and pious pretensions, at last, when God pressed the employment still upon him, he determines all in this, 0 my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send, or, (as it is in our margin,) whom thou shouldest send. It is a work next to the great work of the redemption of the whole world, to redeem Israel out of Egypt; and therefore do both works at once, put both into one hand, and mitte quem missurus es: send him whom I know thou wilt send, him whom, pursuing thine own decree, thou shouldest send; send Christ, send him now, to redeem Israel from Egypt.
These words then (though some have made that interpretation of them, and truly not without a fair appearance and probability and verisimilitude,) do not necessarily imply a slackness in Moses' zeal, that he desired not affectionately and earnestly the deliverance of his nation from the pressures of Egypt; nor do they imply any diffidence or distrust that God could not, or would not, endow him with faculties fit for that employment. But as a thoughtful man, a pensive, a considerative man, that stands still for a while, with his eyes fixed upon the ground before his feet, when he casts up his head, hath presently, instantly, the sun, or the heavens, for his object, he sees not a tree, nor a house, nor a steeple by the way, but as soon as his eye is departed from the earth where it was long fixed, the next thing he sees is the sun or the heavens; so when Moses had fixed himself long upon the consideration of his own insufficiency for this service, when he took his eye from that low piece of ground, himself, considered as he was then, he fell upon no tree, no house, no steeple, no such consideration as this,—God may endow me, improve me, exalt me, enable me, qualify me with faculties fit for this service,—but his first object was that which presented an infallibility with it, Christ Jesus himself, the Messiah himself, and the first petition that he offers to God is this, 0 my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. For me, as I am, I am altogether unfit; when thou shalt be pleased to work upon me, thou wilt find me but stone, hard to receive thy holy impressions, and then but snow, easy to melt, and lose those holy forms again. There must be labour laid, and perchance labour lost upon me; but put the business into a safe hand, and under an infallible instrument, and mitte quern missurus es, send him whom 1 know thou, wilt send, him whom, pursuing their own decree, thou shouldest send, send him, send Christ now.
As much as paradise exceeded all the places of the earth, do the Scriptures of God exceed paradise. In the midst of paradise grew the tree of knowledge and the tree of life: in this paradise, the Scripture, every word is both those trees, there is life and knowledge in every word of the word of God. That germen Jehovw, as the prophet Esay calls Christ, that offspring of Jehovah, that bud, that blossom, that fruit of God himself, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Redeemer, Christ Jesus, grows upon every tree in this paradise, the Scripture; for Christ was the occasion before, and is the consummation after, of all Scripture. This I have written1 (says St. John), and so say all the
1 1 John v. 13.
penmen of the Holy Ghost, in all that they have written, This have we written, that ye may know that ye have eternal life: knowledge and life grows upon every tree in this paradise, upon every word in this book, because upon every tree here, upon every word, grows Christ himself, in some relation.
From this branch, this text, 0 my Lord send, I pray thee by the hand of him, whom thou wilt send, we shall not so much stand, to gather here and there an apple, that is, to consider some particular words of the text itself, as endeavour to shake the whole tree, that is, the context, and coherence and dependence of the words: for, since all that passed between God and Moses in this affair and negotiation, God's employing of Moses, and Moses presenting his excuses to God, and God's taking of all those excuses, determines in our text, in our text is the whole story, virtually and radically implied; and therefore, by just occasion thereof, we shall consider first, that though for the ordinary duties of our callings, arising out of the evidence of express Scriptures, we are allowed no hesitation, no disputation, whether we will do them or no; but they require a present, and an exact execution thereof: yet in extraordinary cases, and in such actions as are not laid upon us, by any former and permanent notification thereof in Scripture, such as was Moses' case here, to undertake the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; in such cases, not only some hesitation, some deliberation, some consultation in ourselves, but some expostulation with God himself, may be excusable in us. We shall therefore see, that Moses did excuse himself four ways; and how God was pleased to join issue with him in all four, and to cast him, and overcome him in them all: and when we come to consider his fifth, which is rather a diversion upon another, than an excuse in himself, and yet is that which is most literally in our text, 0 my Lord send, I pray thee, by the hand of him, whom thou wilt send, because this was a thing which God had reserved wholly to himself, the sending of Christ: we shall see that God would not have been pressed for that, but, (as it follows immediately, and is also a bough of this tree, that is, grows out of this text) God was angry; but yet (as we shall see in the due place) it was but such an anger, as ended in an instruction, rather than in an increpation; and in an encouragement, rather
VOL. I. G
than in a desertion, for he established Moses in a resolution to undertake the work, by joining his brother Aaron in commission with him. So then we have shaken the tree, that is, resolved and analyzed the context, of all which the text itself is the root, and the seal. And as we have presented to your sight, we shall farther offer to your taste, and digestion, and rumination, these particular fruits; first, that ordinary duties require a present execution; secondly, that in extraordinary, God allows a deliberation, and requires not an implicit, a blind obedience: and in a third place, we shall give you those four circumstances, that accompanied, or constituted Moses' deliberation, and God's removing of those four impediments: and in a fourth room, that consultation or diversion, the sending of Christ: and in that, how God was affected with it, he was angry: angry that Moses would offer to look into those things which he had locked up in his secret counsels, such as that sending of Christ, which he intended: but yet not angry, so as that he left Moses unsatisfied, or unaccommodated for the main business, but settled him in a holy and cheerful readiness to obey his commandment. And through all these particulars, we shall pass with as much clearness as the weight, and as much shortness as the number will permit.
First then, our first consideration constitutes that proposition, ordinary duties, arising out of the evidence of God's word, require a present execution. There are duties that bind us semper, and ad semper, as our casuists speak; we are always bound to do them, and bound to do them always; that is, always to produce actus elicitos, determinate acts, successive and consecutive acts, conformable to those duties; whereas in some other duties, we are only bound to an habitual disposition, to do them in such and such necessary cases; and those actions of the latter sort, fall in genere deliberativo, we may consider circumstances, before we fall under a necessity of doing them; that is, of doing them then, or doing them thus,: of which kind, even those great duties of praying, and fasting are; for we are always bound to pray, and always bound to fast; but not bound to fast always, nor always to pray. But for actions of the first kind, such as are the worshipping of God, and the not worshipping of images; such as are the sanctifying of God's Sabbaths, and the not blaspheming of his name, which arise out of clear and evident commands of God; they admit no deliberation, but require a present execution. Therefore as St. Stephen .saw Christ, standing at the right hand of his Father, (a posture that denotes first a readiness to survey, and take knowledge of our distresses, and then a readiness to proceed, and come forth to our assistance) so in our Liturgy, in our service, in the congregation, wo stand up at the profession of the Creed, at the rehearsing the Articles of our faith, thereby to declare to God, and his church, our readiness to stand to, and our readiness to proceed in that profession. The commendation which is given of Andrew8, and Peter for obeying Christ's call, lies not so much in that they left their nets, as in that forthwith, immediately, without farther deliberation, they left their nets, the means of their livelihood, and followed Christ. The Lord and his Spirit hath anointed us to preach3, says the prophet Isaiah: to preach what? the acceptable year of the Lord. All the year long the Lord stands with his arms open to embrace you, and all the year long we pray you in Christ's stead, that you would be reconciled to God*. But yet God would fain reduce it to a narrower compass of time, that you would hear his voice to-day, and not harden your hearts to-day*: and to a narrower compass than that, Dabitur in ilia hora, says Christ, The Holy Ghost shall teach you in that hour*: in this hour the Holy Ghost offers himself unto you: and to a narrower compass than an hour, Blessed are ye that hunger now, and that mourn now1, that put not off' years, nor days, nor hours, but come to a sense of your sins, and of the means of reconciliation to God, now, this minute. And therefore, when ye read, just weights, and just balances8, and just measures, a just Hin and a just Ephah shall ye hame, I am the Lord your God, do not you say, so I will hereafter, I will come to just weights and measures, and to deal uprightly in the world as soon as I have made a fortune, established a state, raised a competency for wife and children, but yet I must do as other men do; when you read Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath day*, (and by the way, remember that God hath called his other holy days, and holy convocations, Sabbaths
8 Mark i. 18. 3 Isaiah Lxi. 1. * 2 Cor. v. 20. 5 Psal. Xlv. viii. ° Luke xii. 12. 7 Luke vi. 21. 8 Levit. xix. 3C. 9 Levit. xxiii.
too,) remember that you celebrate his Sabbaths by your presence here, do not you say, so I will if I can rise time enough, if I can dine soon enough; when you read, swear not at allTM, do not you say, no more I would but that I live amongst men that will not believe me without swearing, and laugh at me if I did not swear; for duties of this kind, permanent and constant duties arising out of the evidence of God's word, such as just and true dealing with men, such as keeping God's Sabbaths, such as not blaspheming his name, have no latitude about them, no conditions in them; they have no circumstance, but are all substance, no apparel, but are all body, no body, but are all soul, no matter, but are all form; they are not in genere deliberative, they admit no deliberation, but require an immediate, and an exact execution.
But then, for extraordinary things, things that have not their evidence in the word of God formally revealed unto us, whether we consider matters of doctrine, and new opinions, or matter of practice, and new commands, from what depth of learning soever that new opinion seem to us to rise, or from height of power soever that new command seem to fall, it is still in genere deliberative, still we are allowed, nay still we are commanded to deliberate, to doubt, to consider, before we execute. As a good author in the Roman Church says, Perniciosius est ecclesiw", It is more dangerous to the church, to accept an apocryphal book for canonical, than to reject a canonical book for apocryphal: so may it be more dangerous to do some things, which to a distempered man may seem to be commanded by God, than to forbear some things, which are truly commanded by him. God had rather that himself should be suspected, than that a false god should be admitted. The easiness of admitting revelations, and visions, and apparitions of spirits, and purgatory souls in the Roman church; and then the overbending and super-exaltation of zeal, and the captivity to the private spirit, which some have fallen into, that have not been content to consist in moderate, and middle ways in the reformed church; this easiness of admitting imaginary apparitions of spirits in the papist, and this easiness of submitting to the private spirit, in the schismatic, hath produced effects equally mischievous: melancholy being made the seat of religion on the
10 Matt. v. 34. >1 Melchior Canus.
one side, by the papist, and phrensy on the other side, by the schismatic. Multi,prw studio immoderate intendi in contrarium, aberrarunt a medio18, was the observation and the complaint of that father in his time, and his prophecy of ours; that many times, an over-vehement bending into some way of our own choosing, does not only withdraw us from the left-hand way, the way of superstition, and idolatry, from which we should all draw, but from the middle way too, in which we should stand and walk. And then the danger is thus great, facile in omnia flagitia impulit, quos religione decepit diabolus1"; as God doth, the devil also doth make zeal and religion his instrument. And in other tentations, the devil is but a serpent; but in this, when he makes zeal and religion his instrument, he is a lion. As long as the devil doth but say, do this, or thou wilt live a fool, and die a beggar; do this, or thou canst not live in this world, the devil is but a devil, he plays but a devil's part, a liar, a seducer; but when the devil comes to say, do this, or thou canst not live in the next world, thou canst not be saved, here the devil pretends to be God, here he acts God's part, and so prevails the more powerfully upon us. And then, when men are so mis-transported, either in opinions, or in actions, with this private spirit, and inordinate zeal, Quibus non potest auferre fidem, aufert charitatem, says the same father, though the devil hath not quenched faith in that man himself, yet he hath quenched that man's charity towards other men; though that man might be saved, in that opinion which he holds, because (perchance) that opinion destroys no fundamental point, yet his salvation is shrewdly shaken, and endangered, in his uncharitable thinking that nobody can be saved that thinks otherwise. And as it works thus to an uncharitableness in private, so doth it to turbulency, and sedition in the public. Of which, we have a pregnant, and an appliable example in the life of Constantino the emperor14; in his time there arose some new questions, and new opinions in some points of religion; the emperor writ alike to both parties, thus: De rebus ejusmodi, nec omnino rogetis, nec rogati respondeatis: do you move no questions, in such things, yourselves; and if any other do, yet be not you too forward, to write so much as against
>* Basil. 13 Leo. 14 Eusebius.
them. What questions doth he mean? That is expressed, quas nulla lex, canonve ecclesiasticus necessario prwscribit; such questions, as are not evidently declared, and more than evidently declared, necessarily enjoined by some law, some rule, some canon of the church: disturb not the peace of the church upon inferences and consequences, but deal only upon those things, which are evidently declared in the articles, and necessarily enjoined by the church. And yet, though that emperor declared himself on neither side, nor did any act in favour of either side, yet because he did not declare himself on their side, those promoters of these new opinions, Eo pervenere (says that author) ut imagines imperatoris molarint, They came as far as they could, to violate the person of the emperor, for they violated and defaced his statues, his images, his pictures, the ensigns of his power and honour; and in this insolency they continued (says that author) even after the emperor had silenced both parties; when he, by his express edict, had forbidden both sides to write, the promoters of the new opinions would write. Still such men think, that whatsoever they think, is not only true in itself, but necessary for salvation to every man; whereas new opinions, that may vary from the Scriptures; new commands, that may vary from the church, are still in genere deliberative, they admit, they require deliberation. Blind and implicit faith shall not save us in matter of doctrine, nor blind and implicit obedience in matter of practice; neither is there any faith so blind, and implicit, as to believe those imaginary apparitions of spirits, nor any obedience so blind, and implicit, as to obey our own private spirit, and distempered zeal. Truly I should hope better of their salvation, who in the first darker times, doubted of the revelations of St. John, than of theirs, who in these clear and evident times, accept, and enjoin, and magnify, so much as they do in the Roman church, the revelations of St. Brigid; and I should rather accompany them, who out of their charitable moderation, do believe that some Christians, though possessed with some errors, may be saved, than them, who out of their passionate severity, first call every difference from themselves, an error; and then every error, damnable; and do not only pronounce, that none that holds any such error, can be saved, but that no man, though he hold none of those errors himself, can be saved, if he think any man can be saved, that holds them. And so we have done with those two propositions, which are the walls upon which our whole frame is to be laid; that ordinary duties require a present execution, that was our first: but extraordinary admit deliberation, that was our second consideration; and now our third is, to consider Moses' case in particular, as it was an example of both.
As Moses was an example of the present performance of an evident duty, we carry you back, to the former chapter, where this root, this text is first laid, that is, this employment first , begun to be notified. There (ver. 4,) God calls Moses, and he calls him by name, and by name twice, Moses, Moses. Of this, Moses could not be ignorant; and therefore he comes to a present discharge of this duty to a present answer, ecce adsum, Lord, here I am. This is the advantage of innocence above guiltiness; God called Adam in Paradise, and he called him by name, and with a particular inquisition, Adam, ubi es? Adam, where art thou? And Adam hid himself; God calls Moses, and Moses answers. He that is used to hear God, at home, in his conscience, and in his ears, at church; and used to answer God, in both places, at home in his private meditations, and in public devotions at Church; he that is used to hear, and used to answer God thus, shall be glad to hear him, in his last voice, in his angels' trumpets, and to that voice, Surgite qui dormitis, arise thou that sleepest in the dust, and stand up to judgment, as he shall have invested the righteousness of Christ Jesus, he shall answer in the very words of Christ Jesus; / am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive, for evermore, Amen". In this evident duty then, Moses permitted himself no liberty; God called, and he answered instantly; he answered in action, as well as in words; and, indeed, that is our loudest, and most musical answer, to answer God, in deed, in action. So Moses did; he came, he hastened to the place '\ where God spake. It is one good argument of piety, to love the place where God speaks, the house of his presence. But yet Moses received an inhibition from God there, a ne appropinques, come not too near, too close to this place. God loves
14 Rev. i. 18. 18 Ver. v.
that we should come to him here in his house; but God would not have us press too close upon him here; we must not be too familiar, too fellowly, too homely with God, here at home, in his house, nor loath to uncover our head, or bow our knee at his name. When God proceeded farther with Moses, and comes to say, I am come down to deliver Israel from Egypt^, (which was the first intimation that God gave of that purpose) Moses likes that well enough, opposes nothing to that, that God would be pleased to think of some course for delivering of Israel, and enable some instrument for that work; for that is, for the most part, God's descending, and his coming down, to put his power instrumentally, ministerially, into the hand of another; general things, and remote things do not much affect us; Moses says nothing to God's general proposition, that he was come down to deliver Israel, but when God comes to that particular, Come therefore that I may send thee19, him into Egypt, Moses to Pharaoh, this was a rock in his sea, and a remora upon his ship, a hill in his way, and a snake in his path. Some light, that this was about the time, when Israel should be delivered, there was before. Moses takes knowledge, that God had promised Abraham19, that after four generations, they should come back; and the four generations were come about. Some light, that Moses should be the man, by whom they should be delivered, it seems there was before; for upon that history which is in the second chapter of this book, that Moses slew an Egyptian*0 who oppressed one of his countrymen, St. Stephen, in his own funeral sermon, says, that Moses in that act, supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them, but they understood it not31. So that it seems some such thing had gone out in voice, some revelation, some intimation, some emanation of some kind of light there had been, by which they might have understood it, though they did not. But when Moses remembers now, that that succeeded not, that they apprehended not the offer of his service then, and that he was now grown to be eighty years old, and that forty of that eighty had been spent in an obscure, in a shepherd's life, and that he must now be sent,
17 Rev. i. 8. 18 Ver. ix. 10. 19 Gen. xv. 16.
10 Exod. ii. 13. 81 Acts vii. 25.
not only to work upon that people, who showed no forwardness towards him then, and might absolutely have forgotten him now, but upon Pharaoh himself, this created in Moses this hesitation, this deliberation; perchance not without some tincture of infirmity, but far from any degree of impiety; perchance not without some expostulation with God, but far from any reluctation against God. Consider Abraham; Abraham the father of the faithful; of whom, as the apostle says, that he hoped beyond hope, we may say, that he believed beyond faith, for, (as he says) he followed God, not knowing whither he led him; Abraham came to another manner of expostulation with God, in the behalf of Sodom; he says to God, wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked? Be that far from theeTM; and he repeats it, Be that far from thee; and he pleads it with God, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Now as St. Paul says of Esay, Esay was bold when he said thus and thus; so we may say of Abraham, Abraham was bold, when he could conceive such an imagination, that God would destroy the righteous with the wicked, or that the Judge of all the earth should not do right; yet Abraham is not blamed for this. Consider St. Peter's proceeding with Christ; he comes to a rebuking of Christ, and to a more vehement absit, Lord be this far from thee, this shall not be unto thee*3, speaking of his going up to Jerusalem, upon which journey depended the whole work of our redemption. And though St. Peter incurred an increpation from Christ, yet that which he did, was rooted in love, and piety, though it were mixed with inconsideration. St. Peter went farther than Abraham, but Abraham farther than Moses; as therefore that first revelation, which Moses may seem to have received, when he was forty years before this in Egypt, did not so bind him to a present prosecution of that work of their deliverance, but that upon occasion he did withdraw himself from Egypt, and continue from thence, in a forty years' absence; so neither did this intimation, which he received from God now, so bind him up, but that he might piously present his own unfitness for that employment; for it does not so much imply a denial to undertake the service, as a petition, that God would super-endow him, with parts, and faculties, fit for that service; it is far from
'28 Gen. xviii. 22. i3 Matt. xvi. 23.
that stubborn son's non ibo, I will not go to work in that vineyard; but it is only this, except God do somewhat for me before I go, I shall be very unfit to go: and that any ambassador may say to his prince, any minister of state to his master, any messenger of God to God himself. And therefore good occasion of doctrines of edification offering itself from that consideration, we shall insist a little upon each of his excuses, though they be four.
His first prospect that he looks upon in himself, his first object, that by way of objection he makes to God, is himself, and his own unworthiness. To consider others, is but to travel: to be at home, is to consider ourselves: upon others wo can look but in oblique lines; only upon ourselves, in direct. Man is but earth; 'tis true; but earth is the centre. That man who dwells upon himself, who is always conversant in himself, rests in his true centre. Man is a celestial creature too, a heavenly creature; and that man that dwells upon himself, that hath his conversation in himself, hath his conversation in heaven. If you weigh anything in a scale, the greater it is, the lower it sinks; as you grow greater and greater in the eyes of the world, sink lower and lower in your own. If thou ask thyself Quis ego, What am I? and beest able to answer thyself, Why now I am a man of title, of honour, of place, of power, of possessions, a man fit for a chronicle, a man considerable in the herald's office; go to the herald's office, the sphere and element of honour, and thou shalt find those men as busy there about the consideration of funerals, as about the consideration of creations; thou shalt find that office to be as well the grave, as the cradle of honour; and thou shalt find in that office as many records of attainted families, and escheated families, and impoverished and forgotten, and obliterate families, as of families newly erected and presently celebrated. In what height soever, any of you that sit here, stand at home, there is some other in some higher station than yours, that weighs you down: and he that stands in the highest of subordinate heights, nay in the highest supreme height in this world, is weighed down by that which is nothing; for what is any monarch to the whole world? and the whole world is but that; but what? but nothing. What man amongst us looks Moses' way, first upon himself? perchance enow do so; but who looks Moses' way, and by Moses' light? first upon himself, and in himself, first upon his own insufficiencies; what man amongst us, that is named to any place, by the good opinion of others, or that calls upon others, and begs, and buys their good opinion for that place, begins at Moses' What am I? where have I studied and practised sufficiently before, that I should fill such or such a place of judicature? What am I? where have I served, and laboured, and preached in inferior places of the church, that I should fill such or such a place of dignity or prelacy there? What am I? where have I seen and encountered, and discomfited the enemy, that I should fill such or such a place of command in an army? There is not an Abraham left to say, O my Lord, I am but dust and ashes; not a Jacob left to say, O my Lord, I am not worthy of the least of these preferments; not a David left to say, O my Lord, I am but a dead dog, and a flea; but every man is vapoured up into air; and, as the air can, he thinks he can fill any place: every man is under that complicated disease, and that riddling distemper, not to be content with the most, and yet to be proud of the least thing he hath; that when he looks upon men, he despises them, because he is some kind of officer, and when he looks upon God, he murmurs at him, because he made him not a king. But if man will not come to his Quis ego? Who am I? to a due consideration of himself, God will come to his Quis tu? Who art thou ? and to his Amice quomodo intrasti? Friend how came you in? To every man that comes in by undue means, God shall say, as first to us, in our profession, What hadst thou to do, to take my word into thy mouth? so to others in theirs, What hadst thou to do, to take my sword into thy hand? Only to those who are little in their own eyes, shall God say, as Christ said to his church, Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom M. It is not called a kingdom, but the kingdom; that kingdom, which alone, is worth all the kingdoms that the devil showed Christ, the kingdom of heaven. Be but a worm and no manas David speaks even in the person of Christ; Find thyself trodden under foot, and under thine own foot, that is, depressed in thine own estimation, and God shall raise thee with that supportation, Fear not thou worm of Jacob*°, ye men of
£4 Luke xii. 32. 85 Ps. xxii. 1. 88 Isaiah xli. 14.
Israel. Be but worms and no more, in your own eyes, and God shall make you men, be but men and no more in your own eyes, and God shall make you the men of his Israel. This was Moses' way; not a running away from God, but a turning into himself; not a reluctation against God; but a consideration of himself. For, though the lazy man's Quis ego, shall not profit him, when he shall say, What am I? I am but one man, I can do nothing alone, and so leave all reformation unattempted in his place, because others will reform nothing in theirs, (for, that which David says, If thou sawest a thief, thou didst rise and run with him, is not much worse, than when thou seest a lazy man, to lie down and sleep with him87) though this man's Quis ego, What am I? shall not profit him, for it is but the voice of prevarication, in the ordinary duties of his calling, yet in Moses' case, in every undertaking of a new action, this examination, this exinanition of ourselves is acceptable in the sight of God. And therefore Calvin says justly of this particular, in Moses' case, Non modo culpa vacare, sed laude dignwmputo, that Moses in this his proceeding with God, was so far from deserving blame, that he deserved much praise. And so it seems God himself interpreted it, and accepted it; for first, for his way, he gives him that assurance, Certainly I will be with theeTM; and then for the end, and the effect too, he directs him thus, when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt (as, certainly this people thou shalt bring from thence) then shall they serve God upon this mountain. And further we may not carry the consideration of Moses' first excuse, arising out of the contemplation of his own insufficiency, in general.
The second doubt and difficulty that Moses makes to himself, and presents to God, is this, that he was not able to tell them to whom he was sent, his name, that sent him. When I am come to them, says Moses to God, and shall say, thou hast sent me, and they shall say, what is his name, what shall I say unto them"? In Eusebius's history, a tyrant30, a persecutor, asks a martyr, Artalus, in the midst of his torments, in scorn, land contempt, What is your God's name? you pretend a necessity of worshipping a new God, your God, but what shall we call your God,
87 Ps. U 18. 88 Ver. 12. » Ver. 13. 30 Euseb. b. vi. c. 3.
what is your God's name? And the martyr answered, Qui plures sunt, nominibus decernuntur, qui unus est, nomine non indiget: You who worship many gods, need many names to distinguish your gods by; we, who know but one God, need no other name of God, but God; we who worship the only true God, need not the semi-gods, nor the sesqui-gods of the Roman church; not their semi-gods, their half-gods, men beatified, but not sanctified; made private, gods, but not public gods; chamber gods, but not church gods; nor any sesqui-god, any that must be more than God, and receive appeals from God, and reverse the decrees of God, which they make the office of the Virgin Mary, whom no man can honour too much, that makes her not God, and they dishonour most, that make her so much more. But yet, some names, some notifications of God, no doubt the Jews had: Moses says here, that he would tell them, that the God of their fathers had sent him; which was a name of specification, and distinction of this God, from all the gods of the Gentiles. But in this place, Moses desires such a name of God, as might not only intimate to them to whom he was sent, a great power in that Prince that sent him, but might also intimate a great privacy, and confidence in him that was sent; a name by which he might be known to know more of that God, than other men knew; for, nothing advances a business more, than when he that is employed, is believed to know the mind, and to have the heart, of him that sends him. Therefore God gives Moses a cypher; God declares to Moses, his bosom name, his visceral name, his radical, his fundamental name, the name of his essence, / am; go, and tell them, that he whose name is I am, hath sent thee. It is true, that literally in the original, this name is conceived in the future; it is there, / that shall be. But this present acceptation, I am, hath passed through all translators, and all commentators, and fathers, and councils, and schools, and the whole church of God rests in it. And I know but one81, (who is of the Reformation, and of the most rigid subdivision in the Reformation, and who hath many other singularities besides this) that will needs translate this name, / was. Howsoever, all intend, that this is a name that denotes essence, being: Being is the name of God, and of
God only: for, of every other creature, Plato says well, Ejus nomen est potius non esse; The name of the Creator is, / am, but of every creature rather, I am not, I am nothing. He considers it, and concludes it, in the best, and noblest of creatures, man; for, he, as well as the rest, plus habet non entis, quam entis; man hath more privatives, than positives in him; man hath but his own being; man hath not the being of an angel, nor the being of a lion; God hath all in a kind of eminence more excellently than the kinds themselves, only his name is I am. Plato pursues this consideration usefully; habuit ante, wternum non esse; man had an eternal not-being before; that is, before the creation; for those infinite millions of millions of generations before the creation, there was a God, whose name was / am; but till within these six thousand years, man was not, there was no man. And so says Plato, Haberet wternum non esse, As man had an eternal not-being before the creation; so he would have another eternal not-being after his dissolution by death, in soul, as well as in body, if God did not preserve that being in both which he hath imprinted in both. And says he, As man had one eternal notbeing before, and would have another after, so for that being which he seems to have here now, it is a continual declination into a not-being, because he is in continual change, and mutation, quw desinit in non esse, as he says well; every change and mutation bends to a not-being, because in every change, it comes to a not being that which it was before; only the name of God is I am.
In which name, God gave Moses, and does give us who are also his ambassadors, so much knowledge of himself, as that we may tell you, though not what God is, yet, that God is; God, in the notification of this name, sends us sufficiently instructed to establish you in the assurance of an everlasting, and an ever-ready God, but not to scatter you with unnecessary speculations, and impertinencies concerning this God. He is no fit messenger between God and his church, that knows not God's name; that is, how God hath notified, and manifested himself to man. God hath manifested himself to man in Christ; and manifested Christ in the Scriptures; and manifested the Scriptures in the church; the name of God is the notification of God: how God will be called by man, and that is, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and how God will be called upon by man, that is, that all our prayers to God be directed in, and through, and by, and for Christ Jesus. If we know the name of God, / am, that is, believe Christ Jesus, whom we worship to have been from all eternity, to be God; and then for more particular points, believe those doctrines, which are, that is, which have been always believed, and always believed to have been necessary to be believed as articles of faith, through the whole Catholic church, if we know the name of God thus, we have our commission, and our qualification in that gospel, Go, and teach all nations, and baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost3*; that is, the name of God to a christian, the Trinity. And lest that commission so delivered in the general and fundamental manner, professing the Trinity, should not seem enough, it is repeated and paraphrased in the verse following, Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. First there is a teaching; good life itself is but a commentary, an exposition upon our preaching; that which is first laid upon us is preaching; and then teach them to observe, that is, to practise; breed them not in an opinion that such a faith as is without works is enough; and teach them to observe all; for, for matter of practice, He that breaks one law is guilty of all, and he that thinks to serve God by way of compensation, that is, to recompense God by doing one duty, for the omission of another, sins even in that, in which he thinks he serves God; and for matter of belief, he that believes not all, solvit Jesum, as St. John speaks, he takes Jesus in pieces, and after the Jews have crucified him, he dissects him, and makes him an anatomy. We must therefore teach all; but then it is but all, which Christ hath commanded us; additional and traditional doctrines of the papist, speculative and dazzling, riddling and entangling perplexities of the school, passionate, and uncharitable wranglings of controverters, these fall not in Moses1 commission, nor ours, who participate of his; we are to deliver to you by the ordinance of God, preaching, the name of God, that is, how God hath manifested himself to man, and how God will be called upon by man, that God is your God in Christ, if you
3i Matt, xxviii. 19.
receive Christ in the Scriptures, applied in the church. And farther we carry not our consideration upon this second excuse of Moses, in which (as in the former, he considered his insufficiency in the general) he considers it in this, that he had not studied, he had not acquired, he had not sought the knowledge of those mysteries which appertained to that calling, implied in that, that he did not know God's name.
His third excuse, which induces a great discouragement, arises out of a defect in nature, whereas the former is rather of art, and study, and consideration; and to be naturally defective in those faculties, which are essential and necessary to that work, which is under our hand, is a great discouragement. Lameness is not always an insupportable calamity; but for Mephibosheth to have been hindered by lameness, when he should have received favour from the king, and settled his inheritance, this was a heavy affliction. Lowness of stature is no insupportable thing; but when Zaccheus came with such a desire to see Christ, then to be disappointed by reason of his lowness, this might affect him. It is not always insupportable to lack the assistance of a servant, or a friend; but when the angel hath troubled the water, and made it medicinal for him that is first put in and no more, then to have lien many years in expectation, and still to lack a servant, or a friend to do that office, this is a misery. And this was Moses' case; God will send him upon a service, that consisted much in persuasion, and good speech, and he says, 0 my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken to thy servant33. Where we see there is some degree of eloquence required in the delivery of God's messages. There are not so eloquent books in the world, as the Scriptures; neither should a man come to any kind of handling of them with uncircumcised lips, as Moses speaks, or with an extemporal and irreverent, or over-homely and vulgar language. The preparation of the heart is of the Lord3*, says Solomon; but it is not only that; The preparation of the heart, and the answer of the tongue is of the Lord. To conceive good things for the glory of God, and to express them to the edification of God's people, is a double blessing of God. Therefore does Esther form and institute her prayer to God so,
Give me boldness, 0 Lord of all power3*; but she extends her prayer farther, And give me eloquent speech in my mouth. And the want of this in a natural defect, and unreadiness of speech discouraged Moses. And when God recompenses, and supplies this defect in Moses, he does it but thus, / will be with thy mouth, and I will teach thee what thou shalt say. Still it is Moses that must say it; still Moses' mouth that must utter it. Beloved, it is the general ordinance of God, of whom, as we have received mercy, we have received the ministry, and it is the particular grace of God that inanimates our labours, and makes them effectual upon you; all that is not of our planting, nor watering, but of God that gives the increase; but yet we must labour to get, and labour to improve such learning, and such language, and such other abilities as may best become that service; for the natural want of one of these, retarded Moses from a present acceptation of God's employment. And so truly, should put any man, that puts himself, or puts his son upon this profession, upon that consideration, whether he have such natural parts as will admit acquisitions, and superedifications fit for that calling. And farther we carry not Moses' third excuse, raised out of. a natural defect, I am not eloquent enough.
The fourth is a shrewd discouragement: in the first verse of this chapter, He answered and said, but behold, they will not believe me; when I have told them thy name, how thou hast manifested thyself to them, and in what name they must call upon thee, Behold, they will not believe me; and this is the saddest discouragement that can fall upon the minister and messenger of God, not to be believed. God found this, and complained of it at first, Quousque non credent3"? How long will it be ere this people believe ? they will never believe. The prophet Esay foresaw this; Quis credidit31? Lord who hath believed our report? No man doth, no man will believe us. St. John found this prophecy of Esay fulfilled38, even when Christ in person was preaching, and working of miracles; then, says that evangelist, was that of Esay fulfilled, They believed not his report. And St. Paul39 saw it performed amongst the Gentiles, as well as St. John amongst the
35 Esther xiv. 12. 36 Num. xiv. 11. 37 Isaiah uii. 1.
88 John xii. 38. 39 Rom. x. 6.
VOL. I. H
Jews, Lord who hath believed our report? Christ hath said himself, and Christ hath bidden us say, He that believes not, shall be damned: and yet, Lord who hath believed our report? There cannot fall a sadder discouragement upon the messenger of God, than not to be believed.
How loath we find the blessed fathers of the primitive church, to lack company at their sermons? How earnestly Leo, in one of his anersary sermons, complains of multitudes and thrusts at plays, and masks, and of a thinness, and scarcity, and solitude at church I How glad they were to draw men thither I And then how much they endeavoured to hold them in a disposition of hearkening unto them, when they had them? Sometimes with observing them with phrases of humiliation; so Damascene professes himself minimum servum ecclesiw, the meanest and unworthiest servant to that congregation. So Leo presents himself, ad. vestra paratus obsequia, ready to do all obsequious service to that congregation: and so St. Augustine, in hoc vobis servimus, we shall do this congregation the best service, in handling this point thus. Sometimes they did it sayby submitting themselves to the congregation, in phrases of humiliation; and sometimes, by taking knowledge of the pious, and devout behaviour of the congregation, even in their sermons, and thanking them for it; as Leo does too, quod non tacito honorastis affectu, that they did countenance that which was said, with a holy murmur, with a religious whispering, and with an, ocular applause, with fixing their eyes upon the preacher, and with turning their eyes upon one another; for those outward declarations were much, very much in use in those times. And though in the excess of such outward declarations, St. Chrysostom complain of them, non theatrum ecclesia, my masters what mean you, the church is not a theatre, quw mihi istorum plausuum utilitas? what get I by these plaudits, and acclamations? I had rather have one soul, than all these hands and eyes: yet it is easy to observe, in the general proceeding of those blessed fathers, that they had a holy delight to be heard, and to be heard with delight. For, nemo flectitur, qui moleste audit40; no man profits by a sermon, that hears with pain, or weariness. Therefore St. Chrysostom awakes his drowsy
auditory with that alarm, Hearken, I pray you now, says he; for it is no ordinary matter that I shall tell you: and having so awakened them, he keeps them awake with such doctrines as he thought fittest for their edification. And to the same purpose, St. Augustine does not only profess of himself, that he studied at home, to make his language sweet, and harmonious, and acceptable to God's people, but he believes also, that St. Paul himself, and all the apostles, had a delight, and a complacency, and a holy melting of the bowels, when the congregation liked their preaching: the fathers were glad to be heard, glad to be liked, and glad to be understood too; for, therefore doth Damascene repeat, almost verbatim, that great sermon of his De Imaginibus, a second time, because (as he assigns the reason) he was not thoroughly understood in the first preaching thereof; and therefore doth Ezra41 extend himself so far, as to preach from morning (as it is in the original, from the light) till noon, that by giving himself that compass, he might carry every point in a clearness, as he went. Now if these blessed fathers, these angels of the church, these archangels of the primitive church, were thus affected, if they were not frequented, but neglected for other entertainments; or if they were not hearkened to, when they were heard, but heard perfunctorily, fragmentarily, here and there a rag, a piece of a sentence; or if they were not understood, because they that hearf were scattered, and distracted with other thoughts, and so with drawn from their observation; or if they were not liked, because the auditory had some pre-contracts upon other [preachers, that they liked better; how may we think, that those holy and blessed spirits, were troubled, if they were not believed 2 This destroys and demolishes the whole body of our building; this evacuates the whole function of our ministry, if we lose our credibility; if we may not be believed; if the church conceive a jealousy, that we preach to serve turns; and therefore woe unto that man (if any such man there should ever be) that gives just occasion of such a jealousy, that he preaches to serve turns; and woe to them (who abound every where) who entertain such jealousies, where no just occasion is offered, but misinterpret the faithful labours of God's true servants, and think every thing done to
41 Nehem. viii.
serve turns, that doth not agree with their distemper, in the likeness of zeal. The fathers were sorry if they were not heard, if they were not understood, if they were not liked; hut the saddest discouragement of all, is if we be not believed. And farther we carry not our consideration upon Moses' four excuses; of which the first was, in contemplation of his own insufficiency in general; the second, in that particular, of not having furnished himself with additions necessary for that service; the third, because he had a defect in natural faculties; and the last, for the indisposition of them, to whom he was to go.
But then the fifth, which is not so much an excuse, as a petition (0 my Lord, send I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send) tastes of most vehemence, and, as it may seem, of some passion in Moses. He says first, I am not worthy of this employment; that's true; but thou art able to qualify me for it; and that objection is taken away. I know not thy name, how thou wilt be'called, and how thou wilt be called upon by men; I have not studied that: but thou hast revealed unto me the knowledge of fundamental doctrines, necessary for salvation, and that objection is removed. I am not eloquent, not of ready speech, defective in those natural faculties; but the spirit of eloquence, and the irresistibleness of persuasion is in that mouth, in which thou speakest: and that excuse is taken away too. I know their stubbornness, to whom I go, they will not believe me; but thou hast put the power of miracles into my hands, as well as knowledge into my heart; God makes sometimes a plain and simple man's good life, as powerful, as the most eloquent sermon. All this I acknowledge, says Moses; but yet, O Lord, when thou shalt have done all this, in me, and in them, made me worthy by thy power, taught me thy name by thy grace, infused a persuasibility into them, and a persuasiveness into me, by thy Spirit, yet there is one who is to be sent, one whom I know thou wilt send, one, whom, pursuing thine own decree, thou shouldst send, one, whose shoelatchet I shall not be worthy to untie then, when thou shalt have multiplied all these qualifications upon me, and therefore, 0 my Lord, send, I pray thee, by his hand, send him, send Christ now. So then, with the ancient fathers, with Justin Martyr, with St. Basil, with Tertullian, with more, many, very many more, we may safely take this to be a supplication, that God would be pleased to hasten the coming of the Messias.
Of our later writers, Calvin departs from the ancients herein, so far, as to say, nimis coacta, it seems somewhat a forced, somewhat an unnatural sense, to interpret these words of the coming of Christ; but he proceeds no farther. But another, of the same subdivision", is, (as he uses to be) more assured, more confident; and he says, est omnimoda et prwcisa recusatio; it is an absolute refusal in Moses, to obey the commandment of God: and that truly, needed not to have been said. Now, when we consider the exposition in the Roman church, when their great bishop48, (I mean their great writing bishop) departs from the ancients, and does not understand these words of the coming of Christ, a Jesuit" is so bold with that bishop, (their order forbids them to be bishops, but not to be controllers over bishops) as to tell him that he departs from a good foundation, the fathers, and that upon a light reason. And when another author45 in that church proceeds farther, to so much vehemence, so much violence, as to say, that it is not only an incommodious, but a superstitious sense, to interpret these words of the coming of Christ, two Jesuits46 correct him, almost in the same words, (for in the ways of contumely and defamation, they agree well) and say he does but saucily bark, and kick against the ancient fathers, to whom himself is not to be compared, neither for learning in himself, nor for place and dignity in the church, nor for sanctity and holiness of life in the world. They may be as bold with one another, as they please; indeed they are so used to uncharitable phrases towards all others, as sometimes they cannot spare one another. For our part, we lay no such imputations upon any of our later men, that accept not that sense of these words, but yet we cannot doubt of leave to accompany the fathers in that exposition, that these words, 0 my Lord, send I pray thee, by the hand of him, whom thou wilt send, are a petition, and not a reluctation against God. And that, not as Lyra takes them; Lyra takes them to be a petition, and not a reluctation; but a petition of Moses, that he would send Aaron; that, if he would send any, he should send a
44 Piscator. 43 Tostat. 44 Pererius. 45 Eugubinus.
46 Pererius and Cornelius.
man of better parts, and abilities, than himself; and this is a rare modesty, when a man is named for any place, to become suitor for another to that place; Moses was the meekest man upon earth; but this was not his meaning here. Nor as Rabbi Solomon takes it; he takes it for a petition, and no reluctation; but, a petition, that God would send Joshua; for, (says that rabbi) Moses had had a revelation, that Joshua, and not he, should be the man, that should bring that people into the Land of Promise; and therefore, since Joshua was to have the honour of the action, Moses would have laid the burden upon him too; but this makes Moses a more fashional, a more particular, a more self-considering man, for his own estimation, than he was. But, with the ancients, and later devout men, we piously believe Moses in these words to have extended his devotion towards his nation, and the whole world together, as far as one of them47 hath extended the exposition; what shall they be the better, says he, for coming out of the pressures of Egypt, if they must remain still under the oppression of a sinful conscience? And that must be their case if thou send but a Moses, and not a Christ to their succour. What shall they get, in being delivered from Pharaoh, if they be not delivered from the devil 1 What preferment is it, to dwell in a good land, and to be banished out of heaven? And this will be their case, if thou send but a Moses, and not a Christ, for their deliverance. He carries it from them, to God himself: What glory will it be to thee, O God, who studiest thine own glory, to deliver one nation from a temporal bondage, and leave all mankind under everlasting condemnation? And that must be the case of all, if thou send but a Moses, and not a Christ; Moses, may, by thine abundant goodness, do some good; but there is one, one appointed to be sent, that will do all which Moses should do, better than Moses, and infinitely more than Moses can do, or, of himself, so much as wish to be done; and therefore send him, send him now, to do all together: and so these words are a petition, and no reluctation, though some men have taken them so; and a petition for the sending of Christ, and no Aaron, no Joshua, no other man; though some have taken so too.
Yet we do not deliver Moses from all infirmity herein; no nor
from all error, and mistaking; no more than we do in that other prayer of his, pardon this people*", or blot my name out of thy book, where Moses capitulated too narrowly, and upon too strict conditions with God. Therefore, in this place, it follows presently upon this prayer, that God was angry with him. Unseasonable prayers, though because they may be rooted in piety, they may be, in some sort, excusable in him that makes them, yet may be unacceptable to God. St. Augustine prayed for a dead mother, Monica; and St. Ambrose prayed for a dead master, Theodosius; God forbid we should condemn Augustine or Ambrose of impiety in doing so; but God forbid we should make Augustine or Ambrose's example our rule to do so still. This sending of Christ, which Moses solicits here, was de Arcanis Dei; it was one of the secrets of his state, and of his government; it was one of his bosom counsels, and cabinet decrees: one of those reserved cases, which he had communicated to no man; as the day of Christ's second coming, his coming to judgment, is now; which God hath communicated to no man; as the clear understanding of the state of the dead, who are departed this life, God hath imparted to no man; nor some circumstances of time, and place, and person in antichrist; God hath revealed these to no man, nor to his whole church; these are acts of his regality, and of his prerogative; and as princes say of their prerogative, we will not have it disputed, nor called into question, so for these reserved cases, and unrevealed counsels of God, such as was the first coming of Christ in Moses' time, and such as is the second coming of Christ, now in our time, God would not be importuned. God meant to give the children of Israel a king, from the beginning; we presume he meant it, because it is the best blessing of all forms of government: and we see he meant it, because long before, he established laws49, by which they should govern themselves in their choosing their king, and by which their king should govern them when he was chosen; yet God was angry when they importuned him for a king, at such a time, and upon such terms, as he intended not to do it. But now, because in Moses' case, though there were not a present obedience, yet there was no disobedience, the fault being no greater, the anger was not great
48 Exod. xxxii. 32. 49 Deut. xvii.
neither; and therefore we may safely say with Rupertus, that the iratus fuit, was but non propitius fuit; God was so angry, as that he did not grant, nor accept Moses' petition, nor entertain any farther discourse with him, concerning the sending of Christ; in Abraham's solicitation, in the behalf of Sodom, it is said, that God went not away, as long as Abraham had any thing to say; but here, God was so far angry, as to break off Moses' discourse: but his anger was not so much an increpation, that he had said any thing, as an instruction that he should say no more of God's unrevealed purposes.
Therefore God does not continue his anger, so as to discontinue his work. It was but a catechistical anger, such an anger as St. Bernard begs at God's hands, O Lord, be angry with me, and leave me not to myself; thou hast an anger, that instructs in the way; but thou hast a heavy indignation, that confounds, and exterminates in the end. Therefore our prayer in the Litany, is not, 0 Lord be never angry with us, but, 0 Lord, be not angry with us for ever. David was a man according to God's heart; yet, no doubt, but God was angry with David, for the matter of Uriah, as himself calls it. God was not angry with Moses, so as that he gave over his purpose of delivering Israel, or of delivering Israel by him, and him established in a cheerful assurance to undertake it; for in the same breath, in the same words50, in the same verse, wherein his anger is expressed, his benignity, and his benevolence is expressed also; for there he says, Is not Aaron thy brother; I know he can speak well; and also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: God had laid it so, that Moses should be settled this way, by having so able a man, and then, a man in whom he might be so confident as a brother joined in commission with him. Slide we in this note by the way; God loves not singularity: God binds us to nothing, that was never said but by one: as God loves sympathy, God loves symphony; God loves a compassion and fellow-feeling of others' miseries, that is sympathy, and God loves harmony, and fellow-believing of others' doctrines, that is symphony: no one man alone makes a church; no one church alone makes a Catholic church. Christ sent his own disciples by couples, two and two: and Aquinas says out of his
50 Ver. xiv.
observation, Monachus solus est daemon solitarius: Though naturally a monk must love retiredness, yet a single monk, a monk always alone, says he, is plotting some singular mischief. Deus qui habitat in nobis, etiam nos custodiet ex 7iobis", is excellently said by that excellent father: God that dwells in us, will sustain the building, and repair the building out of ourselves; that is, he will make us tutelar angels to one another; and a holy, and reverential respect to one another, in good conversation, shall keep us from many sinful actions, which we would commit if we were alone. So then, God was not so angry, nor angry so with Moses, as that he did not pursue his first purpose upon him, of sending him, and sending him so, as might best speed, and advance his negotiation. And therefore, as Moses' praying for Christ's first coming, which was one of God's reserved cases, and an act of his regality, and prerogative, though he had not that prayer granted, yet was not left unsatisfied, nor unaccommodated by God, so, (which is the end, that we drive all to) when the calamities, and distresses of this life oppress us, and we pray for the second coming of Christ, in the consummation of all, in glory, though, because this second coming of Christ, is one of God's reserved "cases, and an act of his regality, and prerogative, he do not grant that, that Christ do come so; yet, in his blessed Spirit, he will come to us, in an assurance, that when he shall come so, in judgment, we in his right, shall stand upright even in that judgment; and, if in extraordinary distresses, we pray for extraordinary reliefs, though extraordinary helps, and miracles be reserved cases, and acts of his regality, and prerogative; yet, as he remembers his mercies of old, he will remember his miracles of old too, (and as his mercies are new every morning, his miracles shall be new every morning too; and all that he did in eighty-eight, in the last century54, he shall do (if we need it) in twenty-eight, in this century; and though he may be angry with our prayers, as they are but verbal prayers, and not accompanied with actions of obedience, yet he will not be angry with us for ever, but re-establish at home zeal to our present religion, and good correspondence, and affections of all parts to one another, and our power, and our honour, in foreign nations. Amen.
51 Augustine. :8 The year of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.