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Lord threateneth that he will come against them shortly, and will fight against them with the sword of his mouth: if thou wilt not amend this 1 will punish thee, and, therefore, every one, the prince upon the throne, the master in the family, and every one in his place and calling, must seek to abolish this abomination; otherwise the Lord will remove our candlestick out of his place, as it is Rev. chap. 2. We have a fearful example of old Eli, a good old man, his sons were wicked, and gave great occasions unto others to blaspheme the name of God, and to cause his sacrifice to be abhorred. This went to the poor man's heart, he gave good admonition unto his sons. "Why"1 do ye such things? I hear an evil report of you, my sons, consider what you do; you cause the Lord's service to become abominable. Consider with whom you have to do. If it were with man, another might allay the matter between you; but being against God, who shall plead and be an umpire betwixt you?" Eli going no further, when as God had made him a judge as well as a priest, therefore God sendeth him this message: "Ir said that thou shouldest stand, and thy Father's house for evermore, but now it shall not be so: but because thou hast honoured thy children above me, therefore I will honour them that honour me, and despise them that despise me. I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house." It is not enough for a man that is in authority to be a good man himself, to hinder and reprove evil, unless he will execute the utmost of his power to suppress the same. I intended (saith the Lord) to establish thine house for ever; but now thou sufferest that which is abominable. I will honour them that honour me. I will judge his house for ever, seeing he saw and knew of the iniquity his sons committed, yet stayed he them not. Here is the substance of all, as we look for honour, which is the crown of a prince's government, remember that it cometh not from the east, nor from the west, but it is in the hand of the Lord; he may establish or overthrow promotion. Now God accounteth that dishonour
q 1 Sam. chap. 2. ver. 34.
1Ibid. ver. 30.
when abominations are suffered to rule; and therefore if we would have our thrones established, we must labour that idolatry be suppressed. I am so much the more earnest in this point, because that howsoever God had vouchsafed a mercy to this land, that we behold not these abominations; yet in the miserable country where I was born (and where God hath made me to stand as an unworthy minister of his truth), we see the whole land a deluge, that there is nothing but profaning of God's name, yea, so much, that it is a wonderful thing that the Lord hath not destroyed us. We see the thing that hindereth all is, because such things are not accounted abominations, as they are. Some will perhaps object and say, those indeed were abominations which Josiah took away. But are the idolatries of the Church of Rome abominations? Yes, surely, for I dare truly affirm that Jeroboam's calves and idolatries were not so sinful as their's is. How charitable soever men may be in their judging, the whore" is described with a fair outside. The harlot she is tricked up with precious stones, and' arrayed with purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious stones. She giveth her doctrine in a golden cup; but what is there within? If we rip her "up, what is within? It is full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications. Seeing how detestable that was, let a prince take this to heart in this manner. Is this so abominable unto God? Jeroboam's calves were abominable". But it was an image of the true God, and therefore there was difference betwixt Ahab and the other kings of Israel*. He sinned more than all the kings before him, worshipping Baal. Now was there ever such fornication heard of amongst the Gentiles that a piece of bread (it is not said only that it should be in the sacrament) but that this should be Christ. This is the mystery of iniquity, which God abhorreth, that this creature, which in itself is but a mean thing, they should worship it as the true God. As Doctor Sanders saith, in
• Revelat. chap. 17. ver. 4.
1 Ibid. v. 4.
« 1 Kings, chap. 12. ver. 30.
the dedication of a book to the consecrated bread, I dedicate this book to the Lord my God. Thus, as the Psalmist speaks, "Those who make them are like unto them." Can the Lord endure this, that there should be a creature set up in the place of God, and the worship which they give unto that creature is only due unto the true God. So that here is idolatry, even in the highest measure. The Lord abhorreth it. Let them therefore who are in authority see that they have not Jeroboam's devices and tricks of policy. He was politic for the establishing of his idolatry^. But, most certain it is, when a man preferreth himself, his own life and honour before the honour of God, it shall, and hath been always, his ruin. For these politic devices, let us consider the case of the high-priest, before our Saviour Christ was put to death. They laid their heads together, saying, you see here is Christ; you see how all follow him, and how they would have made him a king. Well, if we restrain him not, all the world will follow him, and the Romans will come and take away our kingdom. Here was their policy. Now see how the Lord confounded them. When they had killed him, thereby they brought ruin both upon themselves and their whole kingdom. But a day will come when the spirit of God will come upon Zorobabel and the other princes (as it is Haggai, 1.), and shall cause the ten horns, which are ten kings, which had prostituted and given their kingdoms unto the beast, to hate the beast, spoil him and his dignity, and lay him in the dust1. But, may some object, Aye, but when shall we see Popery go down? I answer, when the Lord putteth his spirit into the hearts of these princes to hate the whore with an unfeigned hatred. David was so far from tolerating of such a matter, that he professetha that he could not endure their bloody sacrifices, neither would he with his lips make mention of their names, as we may seeb when Joab sent him word of the death of Urias, informing the messenger thus and thus, If the king be angry at the success of the business, asking why we
J 1 Kings, chap. 12. ver. 27.
approached so near the wall? could not former experience teach us wisdom? Who slew Abimelech, who was the son of Jerubbaalc? Joab having occasion to speak of Jerubbaal to one who should strive with Baal, this name sounded so ill in David's mouth, that he turneth Jerubbaal (which was a title of honour) into Jerubbesheth, signifying shame; which sheweth us how we should hate such abominations, and admit no toleration, seeing that God detesteth them, and they will draw down the judgments of God upon them that suffer them.
The second point then of the first branch is,—Josiah doth not only suppress idolatry, but compelleth also all that were in Israel to serve the Lord their God. This may seem to be hard. Shall we force a man to the true service of God? Some may object, is this allowable in good sound reason?—service unto God must be voluntary, not forced. True: and will you then force a man against his conscience? I answer, aye, but here is the question,—God commandeth one thing and thy conscience another thing. Now if the pleading of conscience may stay the execution of lawful authority, our estate cannot stand. An Anabaptist denies obedience to the magistrate, and may we not force him to obey to authority? The Lord hath given unto the prince a sword, and how must he direct this? Not by the conscience, but by God's word. But you will say and object that a man may sin in this. Will you make a Papist to come to church against his conscience? I answer, that surely he hath brought this evil upon himself; that whether he stayeth at home, or be forced to go to church, he sinneth. Now, when the magistrate seeth that he is set upon sin, which of both shall he suffer to go unpunished? Surely, the case is plain (as I said before), for let him be left to his own conscience, and he will continue in sin all the days of his life; whereas let him come howsoever to the church, and use the means, and perhaps the next day he will come willingly. But, may some say, you may force me, but you
shall never make me come willingly. 1 answer, admit it be so in such as thou art, who hast an heart that cannot repent, is it therefore so in all? Hath not God provided this as a remedy for others? Indeed some have the plague in that manner that nothing will cure them; but others again, we see, have been reclaimed: and, which is more, it restraineth their insolency, which otherwise would be intolerable; and others which are ready to fall away are thereby healed. For warrant hereof see Ezra, chap. 7. ver. 26. There was a worthy precedent, though of a man which had not the knowledge of God that we have: "Whatsoever is commanded (saith he) by the God of Heaven, see it done, let it be diligently regarded unto"—meaning that God of Heaven which was dreadful, and to be feared above all others. There is the ground which maketh him to be so diligent. But how was this charge further amplified?" Whosoever will not do the law of God and of the king, let judgment be speedily executed upon him:" as if he should say, God hath given me a sword able to do this. The ecclesiastical sword may not do it: I have authority annexed to it, but this is proper to the king. Let all these things be done. When God's law and the king's law meet together, then lay on load and spare not. Let him have judgment without delay, whether it be unto death, to banishment, confiscation of goods, imprisonment, or whatsoever. It is excellent when these go together. Many have executed laws without God's law, and therefore God hath brought their laws to nought; but when both rule together, God's hand with his hand, it goeth like thunder through the earth. And why is it said, lest the Lord be wrathful to destroy the king's house for not executing his law?
Here we see he that would persuade a prince to tolerate idolatry may as well say, I pray you make way for the Lord to be angry with you, and consume you and your house. We see kings had need to kissd the Son as well as other men, for he can be angry against them as well as
J Psalm 2. ver. 12.