Page images
PDF
EPUB

their covetous Desire might prompt them on to an universal Slaughter. But as a Prelude to this Tragical Day, (which 'twas hop'd would be very lucky) Haman faint with the Thirst of Blood, resolves to take off Mordecai first, and accordingly sets up a Gallows of go Cubits high : probably that he might be exposed as a Spectacle of Contempt to a numerous Croud.

But the very Night before the Morning that Mordecai was to die, the King could not sleep, Eftb. 6. I. and instead of the ordinary Diverlions of the Court, calls for the Records of his Empire; and the Person that was to read them, was, doubtless by the special Providence of God, guided to that place in those Chronicles, that reported an eminent Service Mordecai had done some time before, in discovering a Plot against Ahasuerus's Life.

The King immediately enquires whether Mor. Ver. 2: decai had ever been rewarded; and finding he had not, instead of being hang'd the next Morning, is made to ride in Triumph through the Streets of the City, while Haman his potent Enemy is forc'd like a Lacquey to attend his Horse of State.

Thus God by an unaccountable Turn of Providence, dalhes the Design of Haman, and his Plot proves abortive; and by another Turn as Itrange as the former, Haman is forc'd to leave his Court-Preferments, to be lifted up upon a Gallows of his own ere&ting: for in the 9th of Esther 1. we read, that in the twelfth Month, (tbat is, the Month Adar) on the thirteenth Day of the same, when the King's Commandment and bis Decree drep near to be put in Execution, in the Day that the Enemies of the Jews bop'd 10 bave power over then, (tho it was turned to the

cono

Ver. 2.

contrary, that the Jews bad Rule over them that bated them) no Man could withstand them, for the Fear of them fell upon all People.

Thus are the Wicked sometimes taken in the Devices they imagine ; in the Net which they hid is their own Foot taken. Their Mischiefs return upon their own Heads, and their violent Dealing comes down upon their own Pate.

Josephus relates, that Caligula having a Design to vent his bloody Rage on the Jews for refusing him Divine Honour, was, by a domestick Sword, presently forc'd to resign his revengeful Breath. And 'tis the Observation of one, that the Persian Nobles incensing the King against Daniel, did occasion his growth in Favour, together with their own Destruction.

Thus in the several Ages of the Church hath God by the most unaccountable Methods de. liver'd righteous Kings, and their people, from the Plots of wicked Men; particularly the Deliverance we praise God for this

Day was brought about, by Means as imEccl.10.20. probable as if a Bird of the Air should tell au The Matter, or the Stones in the Walls of a

seditious Conventicle should cry out Treason. * Pender. How was * one of our Enemies bow'd by an arass.

invisible Hand, to make a Discovery of the wicked and black Designs of others of them! as Balaam bless’d Ifrael, when he had more mind to curse 'em. Nay, several of our late Conspirators (it seems) were struck with some kind of terrible Apprehensions at the Thoughts of that Execrable Villany they were in a little time to commit; and have lince fallèni prof. trate at the Feet of that Prince, whom they design’d to have laid at theirs. Does not this

Delive.

Hab. 2.

delign't the feet and hy they

Deliverance then bear the Character of a spec cial Providence of God ?

3. We may then ascribe a Deliverance of King and People to a special Providence of God, when after the Enemy hath advanc'd his Design near to Execution, a seasonable and sudden Difcovery is made. • When the Enemies of God are promising themselves undoubted Success, how opportunely' are their Measures sometimes broken, and their Designs defeated ?

Pbar aob resolving to pursue and overtake, and divide the Spoil, and saying his Lust should be satisfied; instead of meeting with the Sweets cf Revenge, is overtaken with the Bitterness of Death, and the Israelites are as it were surpriz'd with Salvation.

Thus Mystery Babylon, in the Revelation, is Rev. 18.7. represented as being suddenly surpriz'd by the Judgments of God, while she was priding her self in the Grandeur of her State.

And the Psalmist, to show the Speciality of Divine Providence, in his Deliverance from the bloody Designs of Saul, represents God riding towards him upon a Cherub, and flying upon the Wings of the Wind ; to denote how swiftly and seasonably he came for his Succour and Help. And thus God hath done for our King and us; when some like Sheep were appointed to Slaughter, and others destin'd to Slavery, then suddenly he interposes by a special Providence, and prevents the design’d Mischief: he prevented us by the Blessings of his Goodness; and when he turn'd back our Captivity, we were like those that dream, (as the Psalmist speaks :) for our Delic Pfal. 126.1, verance was so surprizing and sudden, that C 22

we

we were like Men awak'd out of Sleep, forcd to pause a while, being instantly transported with silent Wonder! Our Enemies were like Jehu, driving on furioully, but suddenly their Chariot-Wheels drop off, and they are top'd: so that we may say with the Prophet, Ifa. 64. 3. Thou didst terrible things which we look'd not for, thou Camest down, and the Mountains flowed down at thy Presence,

o the unlooked for, unexpected Discoveries that God hath made for our Safety, and our Enemies Confusion! How amazingly hath he laid open that which had lain concealed in the thickest Darkness! all things were prepared and ready : In what a Posture was the late King to make his Descent, seeming only to wait for the Signal, which, blessed be God, none had the opportunity of giving! For by the seasonable loter position of the Divine Providence, a Discovery was made ; and just as

the Enemy was coming in upon us like a Flood, Ifa.59.19. the Lord lifted up his Standard against them.

So that well may our Englis Israel say, If God > had not been on our side when Men rose up against us, they bad swallowed us up quick.

O how has God baffled 'the Confidence of Man, and let him see that no Weapon formid against his Zion shall prosper!

How has he snatch'd us from the very Jaws of Death! how have our Souls escap'd as a Bird out of the Snare of the Fowler! To what shall we ascribe our Deliverance, but to his fpecial Providence who hath helped us right early?

4. That Deliverance is by a special Providence of God, that is eminently serviceable to his people.

Pfal.124.293

ner!

Ver.7.

As surely all will confess that our present Deliverance is likely to be, but the Bigots of the Roman Faction, and those who are scarce a Remove from them ; I mean such as can absolve Men dying under the Guilt of the blackest Crimes, without any Tokens of Remorse.

How dreadful had been the Condition of all the Protestants in Europe, if He that had so successfully vindicated and secur'd their Rights, should have been barbarously Aslallinated ? But how much worse had it been with as, (even such of us as might have surviv'd the Fatal Blow) who must have exchang'd our Liberties and Laws, for the Usurping Tyranny and Slavery of France; and instead of singing this Day, the Tears of our Widows and Fatherless Children, might have been mixed with the Ashes of our City, and our Streets floated with a Stream of Human Blood ?

5. Then we ought to ascribe the Deliverance, &c. to a special Providence of God, when it is a dire&t Answer of our Prayers, as this Salvation and Deliverance must be acknowledged to be.

How often have we in this place pray'd that God would defend his Majesty's Person against secret Plots and open Violence, and that the Angels of God's Presence might encamp round about him ? To which we have had so visible a Return in his Majesty's Preservation, and in the Discovery of this Execrable Plot against his Life and Government, that without incurring the Suspicion of Enthusiasm, we may conclude our Prayers are answer'd, and have great Reason to cry out with David, Now we knap that Plal. 20.6. the Lord sayeth his Anointed, and will bear him C3

from

« PreviousContinue »