Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

INTRODUCTION. 17 when God sends on a land the plagues of famine, pestilence, war, persecution, especially a famine of the word of God, it is a great sin to be insensible ofit. If any shall say, 'While heaven is sure, we have no cause to accuse God, or to cast away comfort, hope, or duty,' they say well; but if they say, ' Because heaven is all, we must make light of all that befalleth us on earth,' they say amiss. Good princes, magistrates, and public spirited men, that promote the safety, peace, and true prosperity of the commonwealth, do hereby very much befriend religion, and men's salvation, and are greatly to be loved and honored by all. If the civil state, called the commonwealth, do miscarry, or fall into ruin and calamity, the church will fare the worse for it, as the soul doth by the ruins of the body. The Turkish, Muscovite, and such other empires, tell us how the church consumeth, and dwpindles away into con- tempt, or withered ceremony and formality, where tyranny brings slavery, beggary, or long persecution on the subjects. Doubtless, divers passages in the Revelations contain the church's glorifying of God, for their power and prosperity on earth, when emperors became Christians: what else can be meant well by Rev. v. 10. "Hath made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign on the earth.; " but that Christians shall be brought from under hea- then persecution, and have rule and sacred honor in the world, some ofthem being princes ; some honored church guides ; and all a peculiar, honored people. And had not Satan found out that cursed way of getting wicked men, that hate true godliness and peace, into the sacred places of princes and pastors, to do his work against Christ, as in Christ's name, surely no good. Christians would have grudged. at the power of rulers of state or church. Sure I am, that many, called Fifth Monarchy men, seem to make this their great hope, that rule shall be in the hands of righteous men ; and I think most religious parties would rejoice if those had very great power, whom they take to be the best and trustiest men ; which shows that it is net the greatness of power in most princes, or sound bishops, that theydislike, but the badness, real or supposed, of- those whose power they mislike. Who will blame power to do good Sure the three first and great petitions of the Lord's prayer in- clude some temporal welfare of the world and church, without which the spiritual rarely prospereth extensively, (though inten- sively în a few it may,) since miracles ceased. 4. Be thankful, therefore, for all the church's mercies here on earth for all the protection of magistracy ; the plenty of preach- ers ; the preservation from enemies; the restraint .of persecution ; the concord of Christians; and increase of godliness; which, in this VOL. it. 3