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1. When Men of great Policy and Skill, that are engag'd in such Plots, are seiz'd with a Spirit of Giddiness, being inclin'd to follow that Advice that in all probability will weaken the Attempt, and lay open the whole Conspiracy.
How often hath God turn’d the Counsels of Plotters against themselves ? For He, in whose hands are the Hearts of all Men, hath made some of them that were big with the Designs of his peoples Ruin, empty themselves in their
own Confusion. As appears Guilt has been legible in their Countenances, by the pre- and thro the Infatuation of their Counsels, fent Natiomal Asocia- they have served the * Interest they design'd tion, which to overthrow. And as the Lord turn'd the was occafio
Ov the Heart of the King of Alyria unto the Fews, lute confpi- to strengthen their Hands in the Work of
the House of God, Ezra 6.22. so he does fre-
Religious Disguise, which according to Human Probability might have effe&tually brought abought the Barbarous Design. But what could he do? The Hand of God was against him, and he acts like one under the Power of Infatu- Quos Jupiation ; for he sends these Wise-men to search ter vult per
Mul search dere hos dediligently for the young Child, and entrusts mentat. them to bring him word where he might go and worship him. Surely never Prince acted Mat. 2. 8. more against the Rules of Policy! to depend upon the Notice of those Men, whose Persons he knew as little of, as their Studies; and of whose Kindness, Constancy and Fidelity, he had less Assurance than of either : they came from a far Country, some fay from Sufa in Persia, others from Arabia Felix; the former is about 920 Miles, the latter above 1240.
Now, I say, that he should trust such as these, to me is an incontestable Evidence that he was seized with a Spirit of Giddiness and Infatuation, and that God by a special Providence render'd his abominable Design abortive; especially when I consider that the wise Men Mat. 2. 12. were warn’d of God in a Dream that they Thould not return to Herod, and that accordingly they departed into their own Country Ver. 13. another way; while Joseph is warned by an Angel in a Dream to take Jesus and his Mo. ther, and flee into Egypt : all which contributed to give a total Defeat to Herod's black Design against the Life of our Lord.
Alas! Men are sometimes under such disorder within, by an Influence over-ruling all their Designs, that they cannot take the most rational Advice that is given them.
As in the Plot against David; Achitophel, like a politick Minister of State, gave very proper Advice (humanly speaking) to Abfalom to
bring about the Assassination of his Father : 1 Sam. 17,1, For Achitophel said unto Absalom, Let me nom
choose out twelve thousand Men, and I will arife and pursue after David this Night; and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, and will make him afraid, and all the People that are with him shall flee, and I will smite the King only.
You see the Design was to come upon David suddenly, when his Forces were dispers'd and scatter'd abroad, and could not easily be alarm’d; which seems to be somewhat like surprizing King William's Guards, and attacking him in his Winter-quarters.
Whether our late baffled Conspirators took their Politicks from him, I know not; sure. I am they met with no better Success.
But to proceed ; Notwithstanding the seeming Rationality of Achitophel's Advice, Abfalom declines the taking of it, and chooses rather to receive the Counsel of Hushai, which did not look half so probable, as you may see from the 7th Verse to the 14th of the same Chapter : So that David might well cry out in the Words of my Text, It is God that giveth Salvation to Kings, and delivereth David his Servant from the hurtful Sword. For by God's infatuating their Counsels, David and his people were deliver'd from mischievous Designs and Plots.
Now what shall we say when God maketh the Diviners mad, and disappointeth the Devices of the Crafty, so that their Hands cannot perform their Enterprize ? Shall not we confess that it is by a special Providence of God that all this is done ?
2. Then may the Deliverance of a King and his people be ascrib’d to a special Providence of God, when the deep-laid Design is uncover'd, and the black Project brought to light, by some unaccountable Means.
Such an Instance we have of a special Providence of God towards the Fews, in defeating that execrable Conspiracy that was formed against them by Haman, who was prime Mi. nister of State under Ahasuerus ; and being affronted by Mordecai the Fedo in that he refu
4 Exh. 3. 2; sed to do him Reverence, was resolv'd to revenge it not only on him, but upon the Jews in all the King's Provinces; and having (no doubt) very frequently infinuated, that they were a factious and disloyal People, and great Enemies to Ahasuerus's Government and Empire, it seems by what follows, he was not a little confident that the King would grant his Request, and that the many thousands of Feros that were dispers’d through the Emperor's Dominions, should be offer'd up as an entire Victim to his Ambition and Rage : for in the 7th Verse 'tis said, That in the firft Month, (that is, the Month Nisan) in the twelth Year of King Ahasuerus, they caft Pur, that is the Lot, before Haman from Day to Day, and from Month to Montb, to the twelfth Month, that is the Montle Adar.
; To understand which Words, you must consider that in those Eastern Countries the Peo. ple before they andertook any considerable Enterprize, cast Lots for a lucky Day.
Thus did Haman in his Conspiracy against the Jews, cast Pur for a lucky Day to begin his bloody Work upon, which happened upon the 13th Day of the 12th Month, which is cal
San) in thebe for more in the
led Adar; which according to modern Computation answers to our February, the 15th of which was fix'd upon for the Assassination of our King: as if God Almighty would signify by his Providence, that in all the voluminous Records of Time, there was never any Instance of a Plot came so near that which we have lately escaped, as this remarkable one in sacred Story.
Now Haman having advanced the Matter thus far, lest the King should scruple to sign the Warrant for the Massacre, since by so doing he would lose a considerable Revenue, by taking off such a vast Body of his Subjects, he offers to return into the King's Exchequer ten thousand Talents of Silver : what Talents they were is somewhat uncertain, some think the Sum might be about two Millions of Mony Sterling ; but be it more or less, the King is content, takes off his Ring from his Hand, and gives it to Haman to fign the Warrants that were to be issued out for the Execution of the Jews. Haman having received the PrivySeal, shows his Activity; for he presently calls for the Secretaries of State, that they might write his Pleasure to the several Officers of the Militia in the Kingdom, to the King's Lieutenants, and Governours of every Pro. vince, that they should destroy, kill, and cause to perish all Jeños both young and old, little Children and Women, in one day, eco and this Order was disperst into every Province by a swift Post.
And that those to whom this Order came,
might do the work the more effectually, they *, As were are promised to have the Spoil for a * Prey, the late ar that they might be the more severe, and that Rrign.
the Secretleafare Ringdom
of every, and