London: Thomas Mabb, 1660.
An humble and submissive expostulation with God, when the Orthodox and loyall Clergy were so mercilessly silenced, by that bloudy Usurper, who by Proclamation forbid them either to preach or pray publickly in Churches; or privately in Families, not suffering them so much as to teach School.
O That thou wouldst hear me, O God, that thou wouldst hear me once more, who am but Dust and Ashes, while presume, yet with all humble Reverence, to expostulate with thee the great and Glorious God, in behalf of this persecuted and afflicted Church!
RIghteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee; yet let me talk with thee of thy Judgements: wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
Thou hast planted them, yea they have taken root; they grow, yea they bring forth fruit [such as it is, the Apples of Sodom and the Grapes of Gomorrah] Thou art near in the mouth, but far from their reins.
But wherefore hath the Lord done this unto this Land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
O my Lord, if thou the Lord art with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all thy Mercies and deliverances, which our Fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us out of Egypt? did he not deliver us from superstition, ignorance and prophanesse, from persecutions of the right hand, and separations on the left?
Did he not save us from our open and professed enemies? and wilt thou now suffer us to be destroyed by our own selves?
Say Lord, hast thou quite forsaken us, and wilt thou deliver us over into the Midianitish hands of our own Mothers sons?
How long shall Iijm and Ziim, the beast of the Island be let alone to leap upon thy Mercy-seat, which was wont to be fenced with Cherubims?
Or art thou weary of our service, that thou thus goest about to disgrace the Throne of thy Glory, and seemest to abhor both the cry of our Prayers, and the voice of weeping?
For behold Lord, we have sown in tears: when is it that we shall reap in Joy?
When wilt thou turn again the Captivity of Sion.
Is it not enough that she hath been so long, as a Lilly among the Thorns, but wilt thou now suffer the Thorns to overtop and to choak up this Lilly?
Or shall the envious mans tares destroy the wheat, which hath been sowen in thy field.
If there be a necessity that Heresies should be, yet, is there any necessity that they should bear sway? yea, there is no necessity but that thy Truth should prevail.
O Lord God, terrible in thy judgements, but yet most fatherly in thy mercies; when shall we hear thee say in this Church of ours, as thou didst sometimes to thy afflicted Israel.
Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord, and thy God, that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand, the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again. But I will put it into the hands of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, bow down that we may go over?
Arise O Lord, and have mercy upon Sion: for it is time that thou have mercy upon her, yea the time is come.
And why thy servants think upon her stones, and it pitieth them to see her in the dust. It pittieth them to see, that there is none to guide her among all the sons that she hath brought up.
It pittieth them to see the Priests of the Lord silenced, and those lips sealed up, which preserve knowledge.
It pittieth them to have their Teachers removed into a corner, and that their eyes cannot see their Teachers?
It pittieth them; and yet doth it not pitty thee, O Lord, who art the God of pitty and compassion.
Art thou not satisfied with the blood already spilt among us, but standest thou still with a sword upon thine Altar?
Must Aarons rod be suffered to wither in thine own house, in thine own sight, while Corah's and, Dathan's do bud and blossom? Canst thou, O God, look on, and see the golden pot ravish'd from thine own Tabernacle?
Canst thou endure to be in the Temple, and see those Lights of the Sanctuary put out, which thou thy self hast light up?
Wilt thou suffer the Labourers to be driven out of thy own Vineyard, after their working so long there by thy Divine appointment?
Shall thy House of Prayer become at length a den of Theives; and thou thy self stand by as unconcernd? whilst they rob thee of thine Honour?
Thou that saidst to the waves, be ye still, wilt thou suffer the winds to arise, the contrary winds of false Doctrine, and to blow against this Ship, which thy self hast so long been in? wilt thou sleep in the Ship, while thy Disciples are cast over board? Lord, carest thou not we perish?
When shall thy Ministers take down their Harps from the Willow upon which they hang.
When shall they be permitted openly to sing the Lords song, though in this strange Land?
When, O when shall we see the Ark of God to return back from the House of Dagon, and David dancing before it?
When wilt thou open the mouths of thine own Zacharias's, the Priests of the Lord, that were called to wait upon thee at thine Altar, but who are now struck dumb, from officiating before thee?
When wilt thou extend mercy into us in the sight of those that hate us, who are set over us, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of God, and to repair the Desolations thereof, and to give a Wall in Judah and in Jerusalem?
When shall we accompany the Tribes, even the Tribes of the Lord unto the Lords House, there to testifie unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord, for the salvation of our Religion in the midst of so many fiery trialls, and the restauration of our Liberties after so sharp a captivity?
When Lord, shall we be allowed to eat bread again freely in thy House; yea, though it be but to gather the crums that fall from our Masters table?
How long shall it be, ere thou bid us look with joy upon Zion, the Citty of our Solemnities, as thou didst bid thy People the Jews.
When wilt thou comfort us, and say, your eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a Tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof shall be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken?
O how amiable are thy Dwellings, thou Lord of Hosts?
My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into thy Courts, and to go unto thine Altars.
But Lord, It is not for us to know the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own Power.
And therefore I desire humbly to submit the successe of all our Prayers and Supplications, of our actions and sufferings, together with the time of our deliverance, unto thy sole pleasure, earnestly beseeching thee, for thy Grace (which is alone sufficient for us) that we may cheerfully wait upon thee (without thinking thy stay too long) till thou have mercy upon us.
The Lord our God is a God of recompences, and shall surely requite our Enemies. But
The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will save us.
Thou art the Lord; and therefore, Lord, even when thou pleasest, and what thou pleasest.
Not our time, but thy time:
Not our way, but thy way:
Not our Will, but thy Will be done.
Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is Heaven,