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PAGE 208

head. Take this comparison.1 There is a besieged town, and there is a watchman appointed with a captain and a guard at the West Port. Now he hath commission from the Prince or State to sound the trumpet whenever he perceives any danger; just as in the third and thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel, and that place in Nehemiah, "he that sounded [the trumpet] was beside me." Weel, he seeth the enemy coming on, he doth like a wise man, how? He marches his men all to the East Port, which is the far stronger, and hath a great rampier, and there he stands where there is none to oppose him; he is a sicker man: he thinks2 he will only preach against Poprie, and not make3 with other controversies; and it may be if Popery come along, (as indeed we have great ground4 to fear it will be the next tryall,) he will preach you good moral doctrines,5 love to God and love to your neighbour. Now should a man be silent that way, how shall he look for a blyth sight of Christ6 on his death-bed, when his Master shall say, Ha, Sir, I know you well enough; you spake but never in a mister; you spoke, as they say, when none speired at you; you were stout then; but when my cause came in hand, when you might have done good service, to have born up my banner when it was like to fall, you would not; therefore, now get you gone.

But you will say, Many as good and better have done so and soe. I answer, The Word of God is written and compleat, and men's practises are not to be rules to us; and good men have slidden in some things, and it may be, few of Christ's witnesses but sometime or other they have slidden.7 Is it strange, that a man may goe wrong, and afterwards get repentance? you may follow that man's example in that wrong, and never get repentance. This is a very sad thing. But why may not men goe some length, less or more, with usurpers in civill things? Doe not men take their benefits in things due to them by the law of God and


1    Will you have yet a parable.

2    Ye think.

3    "Medle."

4    "Cause."

5    "Doctrin."

6    From Jesus Christ.

7    And, it may be, never a witnes of Jesus Christ but hes one time or other slidden.

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man? will they not some way acknowledge usurpers? and why not usurpers in spirituall things?1 Truely, the case holds not the same. Sundry sorts of governments are acknowledged by all in commonwealths; but our Lord Jesus Christ hath not left the government2 of his house to be changed by humane witt as they please. It is a strong tye we are under. We3 know well what the Lord was doing when he engadged these three dominions in covenant with himself, what tryalls he would bring out of it, and what glorious outgates, I say again, and what glorious outgates, and what a lasting work of glory for us and our posteritie would come out of it. And it is a sad thing that Satan, by any instrument he pleases, for fear of a few dayes' life, and men's outward means, prevaileth so far with them,4 as when he saith, Come, give me your religion [and your soul,] your conscience, your bonds and covenants to the living God, and I shall cast you loose as to religion, men should doe soe. Lord save us from this!

But you will say then, What shall we doe? It is true, we are appointed in some sort to be seers and guides. Truely, I dare5 not answer that question; there are so many things into it, because we know not what shall be the particular tryalls of Christians. I have no will to frighten you; Lord forbid you be discouraged. He were ane unhappy commander, that when he were leading on his people, and venturing his own life and their lives, would then aggredge the forces of his enemies.6 But it may be, (brethren and sisters,) that you have somewhat to goe through, that ye wot not yet what it will be; you have possibly a very sad strait to goe through. I use this comparison unto you: A man brings his flock to such a foord, and he must have [them] through. Now, it is safe enough, and no hazard in it; but the poor sheep, oh! as they start aback, and have no will to step in, but strive not to be foremost to weet their feet; and yet he7 calling and wearing one way or other, some steps in, and so all follow, and win8 safely through


1    Spirituall usurpers as weill as civill.

2    Ordering.

3    "None."

4    "Men."

5    "Dow."

6    The enemy

7    "With."

8    Go all.


Rev. John Livingston,
great-great grandfather of Henry Livingston

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