A Sermon Preached on the Coronation day of K. Charles I
March 27, 1644, in S. Mary's in Cambridge
by Bishop [Ralph] Brownrigg
when he was vice-chancellor of the University,
for which he was cast into prison.
London: John Williams, 1661.
In that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel my servant, the Son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a Signet; for I have chosen thee saith the Lord of Hosts. Haggai 2.23.
This Prophecy of Haggai, for the time and date of it, was directed to the Jews soon after their Captivity, and containeth a mixture and composition of expostulation and promises. The chiefest expostulation is for the Peoples backwardness in building the Temple. The Israelites upon their Return from bondage, fell on good Husbandry, to set up their Houses, to sow and plant, and to plough their ground; they thought it yet time enough to settle upon the costly work of building the Temple; and indeed flesh and blood would think this delay excusable, if not reasonable to get their own private wealth settled before they set upon the work of publick magnificency. But God looketh for the first service that his worship and glory should have the first preheminence. For me, saith the Prophet, and then for thy selfe and thy child. Noah's first care after his coming out of the Ark, was to build an Altar of thankfulness, which are the two first structures we read of in Scripture: and it is observable, that God commanded him to build an Ark; but his own thankfulness sets him on the building of an Altar: and this he doth presently; he pleads not the preservation of store, or tarrying till there were increase of all things; but rather takes of every Creature, clean and unclean, as he had with him in the Ark, and offereth. Some count it for a check given to Jacob for his backwardness, that God calleth to him to pay his vow, and to go up to the Mountain to build an Altar. God sendeth two Prophets unto the Israelites, Haggai and Malachi; Haggai reproves them for not building the Temple; Malachi, because of the Priests portion which was delivered for other uses. Here, that the Prophet Haggai may the better stir them up, he useth gracious promises in his expostulations with them.
1. Here is a promise of settling Religion, and maintaining his publick worship, I will fill this House with glory, c. 2. v. 7. he would pitch his Tabernacle among them, and make this place of his rest glorious. What promise can be more precious than this? than for God to say, here will I dwell and have a delight in them.
2. After having settled Religion and maintained it, he would make a fence to secure and preserve it: and that is the promise of peace; In this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts. Peace doth preserve Religion, but War defaceth and ruineth it. The Churches had rest and were edified, Acts 9. To have Jerusalem built in boysterous times was a sad prediction, Dan. 9. they went but slowly forward with a sword in one hand and a Trowel in the other. Blowes will not build up, but blow down the Church. When the Temple was building, there was not the noise of any Instrument to be heard; but when it was a ruining, they brake down the carved worke thereof with Axes and Hammers.
3. He would bless them with prosperity. Peace and poverty are poor comfort: but to make peace in the borders, and to fill them with the flowre of Wheat, these are high mercies. They are the Ingredients that make up a compleat Blessing. A Nation blessed by God with piety, peace, and plenty may sing the song of the Prophet Isaiah of the Vineyard. There is 1. Turris Religionis. 2. Propugnaculum pietatis & securitatis. 3. Torcularia abundantiae. Here is one mercy encompassing and incircling another, bunches and clusters of blessings: not simple blessings, but the meeting and kisses of mercies. Were we but our own Carvers we would say, enough Lord, thou hast richly loaded us with thy benefits, neither could we find room for Esau's desire, Hast thou not one blessing more, my Father? but even here God sends one thing to make up all compleat; and that is, the blessing of Magistracy and Government. For it is not sufficient to have Religion, but there must be Defensor Religionis: not only Peace, but Custos Pacis: not only Plenty, but Anonae Curator, without which neither Peace, Plenty, nor Religion can continue long: and this, in the last place, viz. the setting up of the Supream Magistrate. This mercy is like the work of Creation. When God had finished the World, and blessed all in it, he made Man to be Lord over all; so God bringeth here Zerubbabel to dress his Garden, and to over-see his Inheritance. Here is piety, peace, and plenty, and all three supported by one Sovereign authority. Happy are the people that be in such a case.
The Text contains in it God's gracious intendment to Zerubbabel for to put honour upon him. You may consider it under three notions.
As under the notion
1. Of Prophecy.
2. Of Promise.
3. Of a Reward.
The first was under the notion of a Prophecy, acquainting him with the future events of the earth; what should betide him and his People. It's the privilege of God's Church and chosen ones to have the Arcana Imperii made known unto them, the successes of ages and generations, the risings and fallings of People and States; God discloseth them unto his Servants. He will not conceal from Abraham his purpose of overthrowing Sodom and Gomorrah. Joseph is made acquainted with the future condition of AEgypt. He telleth Daniel of the beginnings and endings of all the great Monarchies of the World. The great Famine under Claudius Caesar, which none of the Sages of the time knew of, was revealed to a poor Prophet of his at Jerusalem, who admonisheth the people of it. Daniel the beloved Prophet, and John the beloved Disciple, did fore know, and foretell the destinies of all generations ensuing: As his love was on them, so his care was for them to prepare them for Future Events. I told you these things (saith our Saviour) that you might remember when they came, that I told you of them. This is the great end why God discloseth things future, that we might sit our selves for them. Sudden surprisals are far more uncomfortable than expected events. Things which are foretold teach us, that they are not the casualities of blind Fortune, nor the violence of unreasonable men; but the gracious dispensations of our God.
As under the notion of a Promise that doth betoken some good to Zerubbabel. The Jews were now in a sad condition. Their eyes might behold the miseries and ruins and poor reliques of Church and State. It's true, the tide was now turned, and they came out of captivity; but things went so hard with them, such poor beginnings had their Commonwealth, their Neighbours maligning, and opposing their work, that Zerubbabel might not despair of ever seeing the work finished, or himself and his people in their former condition; for the upholding of his heart God sendeth him such promise that might not only support, but advance him forward with cheerfulness. In the poorest condition that can be the Church of God is rich in promises; and he is no poor man that hath rich men for his debtors, though he be destitute of present supplies, yet he hath Bills in abundance; who hath dispised the state of small things? Zerubbabel hath layd the foundation, and shall see the top-stone.
Under the notion of a Reward assured unto Zerubbabel for what he had done; he had been zealous for God's Temple and worship, and God doth not only accept of it, but reward him for it. Honorantem me honorabo, he that will honour God, God will honour him. Hath David a purpose to build God an House? God requiteth his Intentions, and saith, I will build thee a sure House. What comfort and confidence did this bring to Nehemiah! he contended with the Elders and compelled them to bring Tithes into the Temple; and then his heart breaks forth unto God, Lord remember me for good: and remember David and all his troubles, his afflictions. What were those afflictions? his toil, his pains, his trouble to uphold God's worship: his readiness not only to do good for the Church, but to suffer for it. Remember the afflictions of David; and it follows; the sure mercies of David shall be performed.
The text is, a Royal Charter, sealed to Zerubbabel, and in it a promise of future advancement. I know that the Text is interpreted in a mystical sense concerning Christ. And indeed Luther's saying is true, that then we understand the Prophets aright, when we find Christ in them. Christ is the true Zerubbabel, the true anointed of the Lord; the Diadem, Scepter and Crown of the Throne of David belong to him. But this hindreth not the intendment of it literally to Zerubbabel, or the application of it to those that be as Zerubbabel, the anointed of the Lord: and so we may use it, but with this reservation, that Christ only hath the preeminence; he is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, before whom all the Kings of the Earth must throw down their Crowns, and give him homage. But by him, and after him, the Text is a royal Charter made to Zerubbabel, wherein are these particulars.
1. The time and season, when this shall befal, In that day.
2. The Author and advancement. The Lord.
First, I will take thee.
Secondly, I will make thee.
Thirdly, I have chosen thee. It is the Lord, the Lord only.
3. The person to be advanced. Zerubbabel my servant.
4. The advancement it self. I will make thee as a signet.
5. The ground and reason, and withall, the stability of the advancement; the assurance of it is sealed with the Seal of the living God: it passeth through three Seals, the ratification thrice repeated. Thus saith the Lord, and again, and the third time sealed with the broad seal of Heaven. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
1. And first of the time wherein this Chater should be made good to Zerubbabel. In that day, and it's called a day of overthrowing the kingdoms of the Heathens, when the Chariots of the horsemen shall come down, when Heaven and Earth shall be shaken: in that day Zerubbabel shall be exalted. So these words may have the force of several things.
1. The force of a supposition, or an etsi; and then this is the meaning, though all the world shall be in an uproar and confusion, yet Zerubbabel shall be exalted.
2. The force of a condition, or a potius, rather then Zerubbabel shall not be exalted, the Kingdoms of the Heathen shall be overthrown.
3. The form of a fined relation and determination, or a quando, when the Nations shall be rooted out, then Zerubbabel's throne shall be exalted.
1. The first of a supposition, etsi. Though all the earth be in an uproare, yet Zerubbabel's Throne shall be set up. And this supposition is not meerly imaginary: no impossible thing to see the world in an uproar. We must not xuniseos , think it strange to see this lower region full of storms and tempests, the roaring of the waves, the rag ing of the Sea, and the madness of the people, are put all together; and this speaks the world, as truly subject to tumults, as the Sea. Tempests there are venti Typhonici, unquiet spirits, whose work is to take peace from the Earth, and to bring all to confusion: and now suppose all this; yet Zerubbabel shall have a charter of safety, God's Church, his chosen ones, his darlings, they have a patent of security. When God sendeth forth his judgements, he gives charges, as David did to his Soldiers, that they should spare the life of his Son. Let not Zerubbabel my servant be harmed. The world it is in a tumult, as Psa. 2. Why do the Heathen rage, and the people of the Earth imagine a vain thing? Yet have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Sion, David, and the Sons of David are Sealed up; the Psalmist delights to put their cases to imagine them, and so to strengthen their faith, Psal. I will not fear though the Earth be removed; when the earth doth quake, then doth David stand immovable, see the courage of his Faith in the rebellion raised against him, Ps. 3. 4. I will not be afraid for ten thousand men, that have set themselves against me round about. See his security in the midst of these dangers. I laid me down and slept.
2. As a Condition, potius: rather than Zerubbabel shall miscarry, he will overthrow all that shall oppose him; nay, he will shake Heaven and Earth, the whole creation. Nothing too costly to redeem him from destruction. Zerubbabel's advancement met with great opposition, the Prophet compares it with a great mountain: but what art thou great mountain before Zerubbabel? Thou shalt become a plain, Zach. 4.7. All oppositions, that rise against him shall become flat. God is the God of nature, and the Lord of the whole world, and so he is merciful to all his creatures: but when they come in comparison, or stand in opposition to his Church, they shall be all parted with. Thus Isaiah sheweth how much he esteemed the welfare of his chosen; Isa. 43. 34. I gave Egypt for thee Aethiopia, and Sheba for thy ransom. I will give men for thee, and Nations for thy life; One David, one Zerubbabel is more dear than thousands of Heathens and Aliens.
3. As the force of a Quando, It sets forth the time when, and herein are three gradual periods. 1. In the day of adversity he will stand for Zerubbabel, and defend him: usually when the Church is in adversity, God suffers the men of the World to be in prosperity: and so when the day cometh, he will remember his own, and do good to them. The Sun of prosperity shineth not in both their Hemispheres at once God usually sets a pillar of cloud betwixt them: when it is dark on the one side, it is light on the other. The world shall rejoyce, but thou shalt have sorrow, saith our Saviour. David saith, the time of the Church's affliction is but till the pit be digged up for the ungodly. The Ark of God's people then rises higher, when the world lieth lowest & sinketh under water. 2. In that day when he shal revenge the opposition of the Church on their enemies, Zerub. shal be exalted. High revenge on the enemies of the Church, is accompanied with remarkable mercies to the Church; St. Paul shewed that the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in an extraordinary way, so likewise he preserveth his own in an extraordinary manner; judgments on the enemies of the Church are mercies to the Church. He slew mighty Kings, for his mercy endureth for ever. Their oppositions of the Church are not only repaid with fury, and revenge on her enemies, but recompenced with comfort on her self. 3. In that day, that great day, that last day, the throne of Zerubbabel shall be exalted. The promise reacheth unto the time when there shall be a full accomplishment of all things: Other judgements were but praejudicia ultimi judicii, even then, when all Thrones shall be cast down, Zerubbabel's Throne shall be exalted. In that time that he makes up his Jewels, Zerubbabel shall be remembered, then shall he set him as a signet in his right hand. And indeed till then neither Zerubbabel the Type, nor Christ the Anti-type shall be at their full glory. Christ indeed sitteth now on his throne, but he treadeth not on his footstool. Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool, when Heaven and Earth, and the powers thereof shall be shaken, then shall Christ and his Saints appear in glory. Here is the happiness of true Christian Kings, they shall not be terminated, they shall not end with others; but shall raign with Christ for ever. When Pagans & Heathens shal be brought to the barr of justice, true Christian Kings shall be taken up, as assisters to the Bench: Here Christ reigneth in and by them, where they shall reign with Christ. I now come to the second part of my Text, The person to whom, Zerubbabel my servant.
1. By compellation. He calleth him by his name, he directeth a special message to him.
1. It is an honour to be owned of God by name, It's a testimony of his favour to Zerubbabel, & to such, it sheweth how high he esteemeth of them, like the great officers of State, their names and persons are precious; or as the great Constellations in heaven & stars of just Magnitude, for which we have particular names, and not for the rest.
2. It's affectionate as well as honorable, it's the language of love thus to speak in those personal sweet expressions. God delighteth thus to express himself to his servants, Chrysostom observes that it is a sign of God's displeasure, either not to speak, or not to speak by name, I have called thee by name, saith God to Moses.
3. It is comfortable, especially in the daies of trouble when adversity besets us, thus sweetly to be called by him; Fear not Abraham, said God to his servant. Gen. 15. Thus David encourageth himself. O God thou hast known my Soul. Fear not Jacob. Be of good-chear Paul, Christ saith to his persecuted Disciples. Thus Jacob pray eth for the blessing when he was in distresse, and the blessing assured him by the imposition of his name. Thy name shall be called Israel, for thou hast prevailed.
2. He describeth him by his relation, Zerubbabel my servant; a title of high honour and worth. Noble men are more honourable in their Courts, attendances, and service unto their Sovereigne than in all the commands they exercise in their own country. King James of blessed memory, counting up the titles which the Scriptures put upon Christian Kings, glorieth in this most, that God calleth them the servants of the Lord. Bellarmine esteems it servile and trivial, and mocketh him for it, as Micah did David for dancing before the Arke; but this our gracious Prince made it his blessing. Indeed though it be a title otherwise communicated to all the servants of the Lord, yet it doth most especially belong to those that are in supream authority. Moses my servant, David and Zerubbabel my servants, a title given by God to those that are immediately subordinate to himself: and it were wisdome to preserve these titles to that they belong to. Titles given by God are real conveiances, and not to be transported (as the Cardinal would have it) to inferior subjects. Zerubbabel is the servant of God.
1. Officio, The high calling of Kings and Princes, is an office which they perform to God. St. Paul calleth them God's servants and Ministers. Supremacy is not any intrusion or usurpation, as Corah, and his complices would have it; were it so, it were good to be rid of it; or were it an aberration, 'twere good to forsake it; were it but a permission made for a time, it must in time give place: but it is an authority from God, set up by original institution. The Apostles call it the Ordinance of God, David compares it to the Sun at Noon.
2. Speciali functione. Zerubbabel God's servant, by a special service, above all other employments, even the restoring of God's worship to the full beauty thereof, and the building of the Temple. This was the work expected from Zerubbabel. The Jews say that the keys of the Temple were laid every night under Solomon's pillow, they hang not at their priests girdle. When Kings serve God as Kings, when they do that service which none but Kings can do for him: to establish the truth of religion, to maintain and up hold it, to safeguard the Church, to see men be religious, and not suffer them to be sacrilegious, is the great service that belongs unto Kings.
3. Gratiosa acceptatione, God graciously accepted of the service that Zerubbabel did for him. Zerubbabel might meet with those that would quarrel and wrangle with his proceedings: But let others malign him; here is his comfort, that God, whom he serveth, accepteth of him. It's the lot of the servants of God to be liable to the quarrels of disaffectionate men; so Moses the be loved one; so David, the man after God's own heart though for a while, the People had very Loyal and Honourable thoughts of Him, He did seem to please them; yet 2 Sam. 3. There did arise discontent about his Government and ruling over them. Well, what saith God of him? notwithstanding all this, this is his Testimony of him: He feedeth them with a faithful and true heart, and ruleth them prudently with all his power. So Solomon his Son, even his Government was complained of as too heavy: yet all the burdens he loaded the people withal, were an over-charge of wealth. The Taxes and Sums for the building of the Royal Temple and Palace were not imposed on the Israelites, but the Strangers among them. The Spirit that is within us lusteth after envy, and sheweth it no where more then toward our Superiours. We should consider their temptations and allurements, and compassionate them and pitty their failings and weaknesses, and pray for their proceedings, and acknowledge the benefits we receive by them. They may some times overcharge us; but are alwaies a shield and defence unto us. Tully telleth us of those Sicilians, that because of the great benefit they enjoyed by the Roman Government, would not quarrel with them for some few trivial matters. So should we do here.
4. Exclusivè Zerubbabel is God's Servant, This interest cutteth off all other ministrations that can be laid on him. The King's service is the Supream dignity. He findeth no equal on Earth, much less Superiour: Dominion is the image of God not of the Pope: This Signet is not annulus piscatoris, the ring of Peter or his feigned Successor, the Pope. It's true, when the Imperial Power turned Vassal to the See of Rome, the Scripture calleth it the Image of the Beast. But a lawful Supremacy is a most legible impression of the image of God. There is a service in Government, and that an hard one too, so that the Subjects Duty is the easier of the too. Diis mi noribus in unum Iowem conversis: veritas nominum est salus proprietatum: facilius est imperantibus obedire, quàm obedientibus imperare. It's a more easy thing to obey than to govern or rule, so Hug on the hard task of Government. Kings are serviceable to the good of the People, but not unto their Power; not like to the Pope, that can hear his Cardinal Sing, Ecclesia data est Papae. The Church is brought in by a Father saying, I am not thine, but thou art mine, and all things else. This sheweth how Kings may be said to be servants. He is properly a servant, that is so in respect of his imployments for another, and from another. The Supream power hath imployment of God, and his authority, and so his servant. But respectu finis, their end is to the great good of others. St. Paul determines it Rom. 13. The Servant of God for our good. So then this truth, that Kings and Princes are servants of God, must be unto them monitorium officii; it should put them in mind their duty: so to govern as to remember they are under government. I know it a preposterous Solecisme, to preach unto the people the duty of their Kings, or unto Kings the duty of their people. It was the method of the Pharisees, when they found fault with Christ or his Disciples; they would complain of Christ to his Disciples, why eateth your, Master with Sinners? and of the Disciples to Christ why do not thy Disciples fast? Just the spirit of the Pharisees, to beget jealousies, and for dissention to tell the King that his Subjects are false, and the People, that the King usurpeth. This is not to give every one his true portion: every truth is not for every person. This here, that Kings and Princes are God's servants, secureth their persons, sealeth upon them a charter of a protection. Princes in point of honour are bound to safeguard their servants. David pleadeth for this priviledge in his danger. Undertake for thy servant for good, Psal. 11.8. King Hezekiah prayed, Lord I am oppressed, undertake for me. David prefixeth this title unto his Psalm of thanksgiving. A Psalm of David the Servant of the Lord. Likewise it must bind us to our obedience, and not only manacle our hands and pinion our arms not to offer violence, but bridle our tongues from speaking any un reverent speech. How dare you speak against my servant Moses? It was the check that God gave not to the common murmurers, but unto those that were some body in the congregation, even Princes. And God's cal ling of him Servant was not to teach Aaron to call him fellow servant, but my Lord as it followeth.
This affordeth us three great excellencies in the governing of God's people.
1. In his person, Monarchy.
2. In his stock and original, Nobility.
3. In his descent, a lineal succession in the Royal Family.
Three great excellencies in this Government.
1. In the Person, Monarchy. The Supream Authority sealed in Monarchy, hath this privilege and advancement above other forms of Government, that it carrieth a more ample stamp of God's institution. We condemne not other forms of Government, they are not aberrations; but justly praise the form which God chooseth for his own. The Israelites for a time were under Judges, but the set ling of the Government was to be in Kings. Its true the first King was extorted by the People: but that hindreth not that the office of Kings was by Divine intendment. It was promised to Abraham, Kings shall be born of thee. This Royal Charter was drawn up before Saul's time. That which blemished Saul's setting up was the peoples overhasty desire to enjoy a King. Saul the King and Saul the Apostle were both born out of time, the one too soon the other too late: but both their functions were of, Divine Institution.
2. In his stock and original nobility; the son of Shealtiel. God taketh notice of his nobility and dignity, and putteth honour on it. It's an ill Symptome of the worst of times (quae non instant, sed extant) when the vile shall rise up and behave themselves irreverently against the Nobles, especially the Nobility out of which God raiseth the Princes of his people. Blessed art thou O Land, when thy King is the son of Nobles Queen Elizabeth, when they inquired of her, whom she would have to succeed after her, answered. My Throne is the Throne of Kings. No mean person must be my successor. The precepts of Philosophy tell us, that Nobility is in a great capacity for rule and authority: Every shoe buckle will not make a signet, or bramble a King.
3. As he establisheth Monarchy and raiseth it out of Nobility; so he preserves it in a constant des cent from David. This is that which David calls the establishment of his throne. Lord thou hast spoken that of thy servants house, there shall sit a man for ever on his Throne. Rather then this course should be interrupted, God taketh such care to fulfil this succession, that he will set Ioas a young child on his Throne. It was the exception made against Herod, Quod nec nascendo, nec vivendo Rex fuit. He was neither a King by birth, nor by life. This hereditary succession preventeth much inconveniency which would fall out by reason of a vacuum. A vacuum is of a strange nature, which makes things of a low condition to ascend higher.
3. The Author of this advancement. 'Tis no other then God himselfe. I will, take thee, I will make thee, I have chosen thee. God is the fountain of all lawful authority: unto him the shields of the Earth belong, supremacy and soveraignty which are the beams of Majesty. Promotion comes neither from the East nor from the West, nor any point of the Compass. Magistracy is the Image of God which fell from the Heaven to the Earth. Exemplum habet de coelo. Lo our Saviour sheweth John so. It is written in the Law, I have said ye are God's. He it was that made them so. We must not have gods of our own making; the holy Oyle wherewith they were anointed is his, with my holy Oyle. (saith the Lord) I have anointed him. The Throne they are placed in is God's Throne, 1 Chr. 29.23. Solomon sate on the Throne of the Lord. The Judges they exercised God's Judgements. For the judgement is God's, you shall not therefore respect persons in judgements Deut. 1.17. Hence they are called the sons of the most high, hence they are all the sons of God. In his thigh is there names written. All this betokens their high descent. This thing considered, that Kings are authorised by God; it will prove a comfort that our Government is of God's appointment: and God will bless his own ordinance. Men's inventions, though never so wise, have no such promise as his institutions. They that set up Abimeleck to be King over Israel took delight in him, and he in them: but how long did he last and their joy continue? But if God setteth one over us, let us not question how he shall save us. Gedeon suspected himself, and Moses groaned under his burden, yet both of them prevailed.
The advancement it self. I will make thee as a Signet. Zerubbabel shall be unto God as his seal ring. It's a Symbolical expression: take it literally, and no great matter to be found in it. Bernard saith, Annulus nihil valet ad hereditates quas expecto. It is not so much the Ring, as the thing sealed with the Ring: the purpose unto which it was destined is that which putteth the excellency on it. Materiam saperabit opus, and so we may consider it threefold.
1. As a seal and testimony, and conveyance of authority, in the ruling of places unto great officers. By a Ring Governments were disposed of. Joseph was thus admitted to advancement: Pharaoh took off his Ring, and put it on Josephs hand. Alexander declared his Successor by delivery of a Ring. So then, the impression or Signet of Supream Authority is fixed on Zerub. 'Tis his Royal Charter. None shall lift up hand or foot against thee in the land of Egypt, saith Pharaoh to Joseph; all other governments must pass under this seal. As Ambrose speaketh of the King given to Joseph. It was for a seal unto others. Let the metal be what it will, without this Sculpture it beareth no authority.
2. Rings were for ornament. The Ring and the Robe were brought forth for ornaments Luk. 15. And such is the power of Magistracy; it is the ornament of the Creation, the lustre of all the great Workmanship of God. He made the Sun to rule the Day, the Moon and Starrs to rule the Night: But the splendency of these lights is the beauty of the Creature: Take them away, and what remains but horror and darkness? See how God describeth the beauty of his people. I deckt thee with Gold and Silver, and thou wast comely. A due proportion of Soveraignty and subjection, is the beauty of the body politick: and also, as every good government hath its beauty, so the Royal Government is most beautiful. It setteth forth the Glory of God's name, that he governs by Kings and Princes, they are his anointed, as the great constellations of the Firmament. Solomon reckons it amidst the four happinesses. And Kings against whom there is no rising up.
3. God will make Zerubbabel his signet; and this betokeneth care and custody. He will weare, keep, and hold him as a signet. The Scripture doth represent this care of God by a signet, in naming three places wherein God setteth it for safe custody.
1. On his right hand: and this his usual way of wearing Signets. Set me as a signet at thy right hand. So then custodia dextrae, this is the first, and this containeth an ordinary preservation. There are crosses and mischances, which dayly happen to the life of man, unto which even Princes are subject; did not this good right hand of the Lord protect them in their going out and coming in? In all the turnings and passages of their lives this hand protects them. They are viri dextrae.
2. There are extraordinary cases and hazards, and they require more powerful preservation: and for them there must be a stronger place. Set me as a seal on thy arm. Beside the preservation of his hand, he hath for his Anointed the deliverance of his arm, of his strong arme, of his outstretched Arme. David, to shelter himself from ordinary dangers, cryes out, God is my house, its he that makes David to dwell in safety: But in great distresses, as when the conspiracy was raised against him, he puts himself in a strong protection. God is not only my house, but my rock, my fortress, my strong tower and refuge. For daily preservation, let thy hand be on the man of thy right hand: but in strong assaults, awake, awake, put on strength thou arm of the Lord.
3. Thirdly there is yet a closer and safer place, and it is his heart: The Spouse saith, set me as a seal on thy heart. And this betokeneth great care. The heart is Loves Pallace, in it she keeps her Jewels; and such a sure Keeper God is. He stretcheth out hand and arm to pre serve Zerubb. No snatching him out of his hand. Here is the safety of God's people, of his Anointed Zerubbabel; his hand shall hold him fast, and his arm shall strengthen him, and his heart shall be a hiding place, and a Sanctuary.
The ground of this advancement, for I have chosen thee. This election is a sure foundation, this Charter of God is sigillum signatum, this preferment is an impression from the Great seal. This election is like the great stone which supported the Throne of Nebuchadnezzar. I will place his Throne on this Throne, saith God. Its like building on a Rock. Let the storms come, and the wind blow, this rock of election will keep it immoveable: Yet will I make Zerubbabel's Kingdom steadfast.
This Election appeareth in five things.
1. Ex Electione, non tantum ex permissione; this is too weak and Sandy a foundation. Permission falls short of approbation, and Kings are not carried by this, but by God's steady Election. In the Kingdom of Providence there is nothing of casualties and permissions, the Spirit of God which governeth the world is a Spirit of Counsel, and not of temerity. So then Zerubbabel reigneth by God's election and purpose; it's not a matter of mere toleration or bare permission.
2. Exelectione tam cum rejectione aliorum. Bernard saith, God's choice must stand when all other competitors are rejected. It was this election that transferred the Kingdom of Saul. Speak not of him, for I have rejected him. This advanced David and not Eliah. Anoint him not; for the Lord hath refused him. Though all Israel set their faces towards Adonijah, to make him King; yet Solomon shall have the Crown. Let others be what they will be, either for parts, power or favour, it is not the mettal, if the engraving stamp of God be wanting.
3. Ex electione cum dilectione. Election cometh from dilection. The delight which God taketh in the prosperity of his people, putteth him on to place a Lord over them. Should we expostulate with God as they did. Wherein hast thou loved us? This would be a clear evidence of it. The Queen of Sheba taketh notice of the happiness of Israel in this. Blessed be the Lord thy God that taketh delight in thee, to place on his Throne so wise a King. Because the Lord loved Israel to establish them for ever, therefore he gave them such a King. If we pass by this token of God's love, the Queen of the South will rise up in judgement against us, her speech will condemn us.
4. Ex electione cum deliberatione. Election proceeds from deliberation. It implies study and search and great consultation. We must under stand it Theoprepos leave out all ill circumstances, and take in all its perfections. God doth it exactly out of the full depth of his Counsels, and forecast of his providence, all things being considered. The setting up of Magistracy over us is a work of consultation. God pitcheth on Zerubb. as Pharaoh on Joseph. Can we find out such a man? This work is one of the chiefest pieces of God's providence in the World: not any one that comes next to hand can serve the turn: no God maketh searchings and inquiries, and then concludes, I have found me out a man.
5. Electio personalis. The election it's personated, it's fixed on a person. Election is not a mere description of a form of a power; but carrieth the designation of the person: it doth not only frame a model, and constitute an Office, or ordain a place; but chooseth out a man. God sendeth not qualities or notions or forms, setteth not up Platonical Ideas; But consecrates a person. For conformation of all these, is that great ratification at the end of all. He hath spoken and will make it good: he that saith it is the Lord of Hosts. This promise is not like a Papal grant, which disposeth of Kingdoms, but affordeth no help or assistance to those unto whom it giveth them. Let them fight for them, if they will have them: The Lord of Hosts will make them good. It's observed that the Prophets after the Captivity, never almost named God, but with this title, The Lord of Hosts. When Zerubb. and his people are at the weakest, God affords him self strongest. This title is Zerubbabel's lifeguard; it standeth round about, in the front as in the fore ward; in the close of the Text as in the rereward: it speaks unto him, as the Prince of the host of God. These heavenly Auxiliaries, these Chariots and Horses of fire, shall resume him from all the Chariots and Horses of the Heathen; those being with Zerubb. no matter who oppose him: by faith in his name shall be discomfit them all.
Let us apply this Text unto our selves; let us see the blessing we enjoy; let this put us in mind to stand on these termes with God, if the promises of his people may be made good unto us, it is not for every Nation to do so; onely for the people in Covenant with God. It is a comfort to us to have a Zerubbabel to be a Prince, and Leader to this people of God. Zerubbabel, some give it, a stranger from Babel, one that renounceth communication with the Whore of Rome. Zerubb. is one appointed by God to fan out the chaff from the Wheat. This our Governour shall be as a Torch of fire amidst the heap of Chaff, and all their Superstition as stubble before him.
Is it not a comfort to us that a son of Shealtiel is a Prince over us, one of the Royal Race, no stranger or servant, no Assyrian or Philistim; but an issue of Royal Progenitours, designed to his Throne by God himself from the birth, Womb, and conception? Is it not a great favour unto us, that our Zerubbabel is counted a servant of God? and that not onely by place; but by piety: not onely High Steward of his House, and so servant by office, but by devotion. What a mercy this is, we may acknowledge, if we re member the imprecation of David; set an un godly man to rule over them, or the commination of the Prophet, A Leopard shall rule over them. Let us now acknowledge our happiness, who have no Pharaoh for our King, one that knoweth not God, and feareth to know the Lord; but one that religiously both knoweth and feareth God. Did England ever know a Prince more frequent, constant and attentive in the service of God? It's a commendable thing in a private person, how much more in a King to keep his dayly and constant hours of prayer, to bring his children up in the Worship of God: to teach them betimes to know the God of their Fathers. He is the servant of the Lord, and all these pretious, titles which God laies upon his servants, belong to him: servus quem elegit, quem comprobavit, quem sustentavit, filius ancillae: He is his choice Servant, in whom his Soul delighteth, his servant, whom his hand upholdeth, his servant, and the son of his handmaid, and a true Member of the true Church of Christ.
Lastly, so we pray and hope, and trust, he is a servant of his, whom he will use as a blessed instrument of his glory: he is a servant of his own, on whom his stamp is. Clemen Alex. forbids four sorts of Characters to be on any Signet. The contrary are not to be found in him.
1. The stamp of an Idol; our Zerubbabel is free from this Character. He neither nameth, know eth, nor worshippeth any God, but the God of Israel.
2. No instrument of cruelty to be engraven on it. Our Zerubb. is free from this: he beareth the signature of clemency on him; and this is a Royal virtue. Kings must sing the song both of Mercy and judgement; but the sweetest song is that of mercy. Do justice and love mercy: he both doth it, and delighteth in it.
3. No Emblem of Intemperance. This Royal signet, which we behold; beareth sobriety: It's a confessed virtue eminent in him. He hath learned that it is not for Kings to drink wine. He is far from the Disease which the Prophet complains of in the Kings of his time; he doth eat and drink for strength, and not for intemperance.
4. No wanton or Luxurious stamp. Our Royal Signet beareth the seal of Chastity. What Virgin hath he deflowered? Whose bed hath he defiled? Whose Virginity hath he assaulted? Bishop Latimer presented a great person with an Handkerchief, this written on it, whoremongers and adulterers God will judge: this is his Motto. Survey the World, and see how many such Princes your thought can present you with. Surely their names may be written in a small compass. We may and should boast of God's mercy: All Christendom cannot afford such another.