Read Divided Together (Appendix The 1656 Voter Guide)
IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
Appendix: The 1656 Voter Guide
The 1656 Sermon by William Gurnall may be read below. It was rewritten by the author, from the Olde English so today’s readers can understand it. The author left a few items as they were written to maintain the spirit of the 1656 English tongue. The reader will see them throughout.
The sermon includes two sections. The first half is Gurnall applying chapter one of Isaiah to his very divided nation, England. One may find the comparison to be eerily like the USA of today.
In the second half of the sermon, he tells his congregation, “I will not tell you who to vote for…” However, he brilliantly points out the Scriptural principals for voting.
Believe me, they are brilliantly done.
You can get the entire 1656 document, FREE and in .PDF format here: www.MarkMirza.com/Politics
Part 1: The Sermon Application
“Then I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning;”
Isaiah 1:26a (NASB)
If we consider the great wickedness of the people to whom this holy Prophet, Isaiah, was sent, we may wonder why God caused a rare Jewel to hang so long on such a disobedient ear, as theirs. After all, God lent His Prophet for so long, to a people that made him and his message un-welcome.
And again, if we consider how long heaven indulged the Jews; this incomparable mercy of Isaiah in their midst; and calculate the long race of his Prophetic course, we have to acknowledge, though he found them so bad, he left them no better.
These people did not relent, not under sixty years or more of this holy man’s preaching. They were wicked enough in Uzziah’s and Jotham’s reign, when he first ascended the state of Prophecy, but by Manasses’ time, (in which he died, and that by a violent and bloody death, being sawn asunder) they were still wicked.
Jerusalem had become a sea, covered with idolatry, oppression, and the work of sin, which might have been expected anywhere else, rather than among a people so divinely taught. But weeds grow nowhere so rank, as in fat soil; we may know enough of this wretched people, if we read this chapter [Isaiah 1], which like a true glass, will give us the feature of that people, as it looked in the Prophet’s time. I wish with all my soul, that we did not see our own Nation’s countenance in their face.
Our Nation Likened to Isaiah’s
A Sermon-Proof People
First, they were Sermon-Proof. They had “listened-away” their hearing ear. It is a sad deafness, and rarely cured, which comes from hearing sermons and are no longer moved by them.
How far they were gone in this we may guess by the Prophets strange Apostrophe, ver. 2. Hear O Heavens, and give ear O earth, for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. Take the words however you will, they speak of a people past counsel, and instruction.
Surely, he must have believed he was speaking, as it were, to inanimate creatures. That Preacher surely thinks his people bad indeed, who directs his speech to the seats they sit on, and the pillars they lean against, Hear, O you seats, and hearken O you pillars. He reproached their obstinacy.
An Affliction-Proof People
Second, as they were Sermon-Proofed, so also they were Affliction-Proof. So mad on their lusts were they, that rather than not have them, they would swim through their own blood to them. Heavy judgements were on them, but no medicine wrought kindly on them. God was weary of sin, but they were not weary of sinning.
Therefore, we find Isaiah making his moan as a Physician does who has run through the whole Art of medicine to do his Patient good but finds him growing worse under his hand. He, therefore at last speaks of giving up on them, in verse 5. Why should ye be stricken any more, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint?
Basically, he was saying, “If affliction would do you good, you have had enough of that; I have beaten you till I have not left you one sound part, from head to heal, and yet you will run after your lusts, while your blood runs after your heels.”
A Religiously Hypocritical People
Third, in a word, they were Impudent in their Hypocrisies. At the very same time they acted out all their abominations, they kept up a gaudy Pageant of Religion. They spared no cost in the multitude of their sacrifices, but appeared great Zealots in the Temple, which the Prophet, in verse 11. protests against, as the worst part of all their wickedness. Indeed, spiritual wickedness carries in it the very spirits of wickedness.
And all this is not charged upon some petty party, or a faction in the Nation, but the indictment is laid against the whole Nation, verse 3. Israel doth not know, verse 4. Ah sinful Nation. Oh, that the whole head and heart were as sick of sin, as they were of suffering.
It is sad when all the entire household is down with sickness together, or those that are well, are not well enough to look after the sick. There were indeed some gracious ones in that degenerate age, but so few, that their Religion, like a pint of wine in a ton of water, could hardly be tasted amidst such a multitude of ungodly ones.
A Diseased Nation
In the diseases of the body, when a general illness has invaded the whole family (as in a fever or the like,) there is commonly someone, whose disorder has affected all the rest. A wise Physician, then, bestows his chief skill to find this out, so as to make the cure most conducive to the entire household.
So here, the sad ailment which the Jewish Nation lay under, in regard to both sin and misery, is observed by the Prophet in a great measure, to have proceeded from one principal rank, and order of people among them, and that was their Rulers and Magistrates, their leaders of the land. verses 22 & 23. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water, thy Princes are rebellious.
Therefore, the Lord levels His threatenings directly at them, in a specific manner, in verse 24. Therefore, saith the Lord, Ah, I will ease Me of Mine [deliver Myself from] adversaries. As they had the greatest hand in the sin, so they should have the deepest draught in the judgement. No sins lie heavier on God’s stomach, and make him more heart-sick, then theirs who stand in high and public place of Rule and Government.
Certainly, the few godly would be discouraged at the calamities coming against them, for they knew it would be a sad day for the whole Land, when God should make such an overturning of the land’s leadership. The storm of God’s vengeance seldom falls so upon Princes and Rulers, but that the people are not taken in the shower and share with them in their sufferings.
A Godly Few
So, to fortify the hearts of those few godly ones, He opens His design of mercy [His future plans] which He had towards them, even in the captivity which would be coming upon them, verse 25. I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy Tin. Here He compares their captivity to a furnace, themselves to silver, the ungodly among them, especially the leaders of the land (Magistrates) to dross and tin, and Himself to the Refiner.
He makes clear, His design is not to consume them, but purge them from this dross that brought the nation to this low point. And when He had done this (once the wicked generation were worn out) then He would provide better for them; faithful Magistrates and leaders in place of the ungodly ones, He intends to remove, verse 26. And I will restore thy Judges as at the first
These words were as a lump of sugar after a bitter draught, given to this poor people, to take away that unpleasing future, which the threatening of a captivity might leave on their thoughts and imaginations.
Here observe God’s love and tender care over the godly in evil times. When His wrath is at its greatest height against the wicked, even then His thoughts of mercy are full at work in His heart for His people. He is carving a mercy for them out of the same Providence, in which He deals out vengeance to the ungodly.
God can blow both hot and cold, wrath and mercy to His enemies in the same breath. Yea, He does not merely content Himself with this promise of love to His people, but He also makes them acquainted with it [aware of it].
And while they could not be immediately put in possession of the promise, He shared it, to enable them to more comfortably wait, and expect the eventual performance of it, His promise.
No such sweet companion goes with the Saints to a prison, as a Promise. The bed of affliction by itself is hard, and to prevent their tossing and tumbling in it, through anguish of their present sorrow, He lays this soft pillow of the Promise under their head; I will refine.
Look closely at the Promise. We see three points:
- The Person promising is God, I will restore
- The mercy promised is Governmental, Judges as at the first, and Counselors as at the beginning.
- The timing of the fulfilled promise is sobering.
When and how the promise will be performed is wrapped up in the word, And; which stands in the front of the Text, pointing to the preceding words, They indeed tell us when and how God will do this for them. I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away thy sin. Then follows the Promise in the Text, which comes in as a consequence of the great National calamity to come upon them, namely, the Babylonian captivity. So that though the birth would be joyous, yet before this Promise could be delivered, many a sad pain and bitter sorrow would precede.
The people of God usually have their hardest labors in their greatest mercies. So, Churches and Nations have their greatest Reformations, raised out of their greatest Confusions [disarray]. Indeed, as a vessel of silver, (to which God compares Judah) that is cleaned of much dross, and very battered and cracked, can never be refined and made fashionable, without melting and new casting.
So, God lets them know, they had grown so corrupt, they needed a hot and long-lasting fire to burn up their dross, so their Nation might be cast into a new mold, so new, the very form of Government was to be changed.
Branch 1, Who is Promising
God Owns the Responsibility
First, of the Person promising, I will restore; Observe, how in promising to give Judges and Counselors, He owns this prerogative and claims it as His Ordinance, under His authority, whom, God Himself sets up. Then He speaks of a time of more Reformation than ordinary. In that time He will restore. Here is Divinity stamped upon the face of what is indeed called, an Ordinance of man in 1 Peter 2:13.
This is not man’s invention: for all Powers are of God, but it is discharged by men, and intended for man’s good. This concept is so distasteful to the ungodly world, because it lays their lusts in chains, and so torments them before their time, that if God had not been in this bush (so often on fire) it would have been consumed before this.
There has been much tugging to pluck this plant [of government] up, but being of God’s planting, it stands too sure for man’s hand to root up. So natural is it to the principles and notions of man’s mind that Governments are found, where no Scripture is found to teach it.
Thanking God for Government
Let us bless God for a Government, even though it is not the best. Where there is Governmental Leadership, some may be oppressed and wronged under it, but none can be righted where there is no Government at all. If might be right, then right will be wrong, and better poor people should sit under a scratching bramble, than to have no hedge at all to shelter them from wind and weather, including storms of popular fury.
The Persians had a custom, that when their Prince died, five days of misrule were indulged the people, in which they might do what they would without control, the thinking was they might be brought in love the more with the Person and Government of their succeeding Prince. It is a sad way I confess, but a sure one, to know the happiness of a Government, by experiencing the confusion of an Anarchy.
What shall we think of those who would befriend governmental leadership we disagree with? This is no new issue. We find it in the indictment of those seducers, Jude 8. That they despised Dominion [authority], and spoke evil of Dignity. It was not the persons who so much displeased them, as the office itself; and it would have been well for the churches of Christ, if this error had died with the first Broachers of it.
Deception in the Church
Contemporary Author’s Note: Gurnall now argues against those wanting NOTHING to do with the Magistracy. But we in the 21st Century have done the same by doing the opposite. We have put our trust in princes, causing us to worship some and loath others. Read this next section with this “equally-ungodly-attitude” in mind.
Some Anabaptists of late times have declared themselves heirs to a spirit of confusion and disorder. Among other positions of this Sect in Transylvania, published in 1568, I find this one, openly vouched by them, that it is a mark of Antichrist to have in their Church Kings, Princes, and the sword of the Magistrate, which Christ (say they) can no way allow in his Church; I wish the sea, which runs between that land and ours, had been able to keep this error from setting foot on English ground.
Is Magistracy such an uncircumcised thing, that it must be shut out of the pale of the Church? Is it an office fitted and formed for Heathens, and not Christians? Truly, then I would choose to live among Heathens rather than Christians.
If you think that way, how can you read the Scriptures and not blush? Were the Saints at Rome Heathens or Christians? And does the Apostle say these things to them? Does he tell people to disregard the Magistrates? No, He is the Minister of God to them for good; and Paul tells them they must be subject, (though then the Magistrate was no friend to the Church) and that not only for wrath sake, to save one’s skin from man’s wrath, but for conscience’s sake, to save their souls from God, Romans 13:4, 5.
This blasphemous view of Magistracy is a brat, reared by man, but not upon the Scripture. No, it is a misshapen brat conceived in the womb of ignorance and begotten by pride. It will appear so by the two principles, which are the very seed, by which this error is formed.
- Invented Liberty. They have found a liberty which they claim Christ has given them, saying, subjection under Magistracy is inconsistent with following Christ. But look what their strong imagination has found in the Scriptures, namely, a pretext which was never written. And yet, it is their strong desire, so they back it. They back a liberty which is a strange liberty for it leads to licentiousness and ends in bondage. True liberty is to choose good, and reject evil, which this Magistracy is erected to defend you in doing, Romans 13:3. Rulers are not a terror to good works.
- Imagined Perfection. A perfection that they dream of, which lifts them up so high, that now they need not the Ministry of the Magistracy to keep them within bounds. The Magistrate is an avenger (they say) to execute wrath to them who do evil, but Saints, who are led by the Spirit, do not do evil.
Well, suppose them to be as holy as they think they are, do they not live among those who are wicked? And do they not need the Magistrates help, so they may be defended in the exercise of holiness? The Saints do not find the world so kind, that they should dismiss their guards, before they get safely to Heaven.
Further, what horrible pride is it, to pretend to such a conduct of the Spirit, as to be privileged from sin? I trust the Apostles, which we know were of as high a form in the Spirit as any who think this way. And they were willing to be branded as loud liars, if they should pretend to have a perfection as stated above. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8.
But the churches of Christ have had too much experience with many of those who believe they are above our Magistracy, to think of them as great Saints; No, no, it is not their perfection that lifts them up above Magistracy, but their lusts that make them not able to bear the Magistrates power. Those Scholars who at first burn their master’s rod, have most need of it.
I am sure this sort of men has shown, that they have need of Magistracy as much as others. And some of them, those at Munster in Germany convinced the world, (for all their loud cries against Magistracy) that they liked the Magistrates seat well enough, once they could get themselves in it.
If God intends mercy for England [and the USA], then this Anti-Magistratical spirit shall not prevail; If we are too good to live under Magistrates, God’s Vicegerents, we are too bad to live under God’s own care and Government.
The Hebrews have a Proverb, we had best make haste from that place where the King is not feared, as if some heavy judgement is on its way to that place where Magistrates are despised. I am sure that those fanatic spirits in Germany quickly found vengeance from God, a vengeance from God they did not expect.
God’s Expectation Upon Us
Since Magistracy is an Order of God’s erecting, a word then is needed to you into whose lap the lot of voting, is, this day, your calling. Do not decline your responsibility for neither fear nor ease. God has given you a Commission, which is this opportunity to vote, and you need not fear to act. You are under-Officers, and would be considered as Cowards, if you dare not follow, when God leads. Go in this thy might (said God to Gideon) have not I sent thee? Judges 6:14. God’s Word was His Warrant [His written order], and God’s Warrant was His Protection, unto us.
When Frederick, Duke of Saxony had read Luther’s book, he put out in Vindication of the divine Authority of Magistracy against those sects contrary to the Magistracy. He then lifted up his hands to heaven, and blessed God, that he lived to see the place of Magistracy, wherein he stood, so clearly proved from Scriptural evidence, to be a place where he might, with a good conscience act, so as to please God therein.
The Magistrate’s office we see is honorable, because it is of God, yet sometimes it goes a begging [falls short of honor]. But worse, it is a certain sign of calamitous times, when good and worthy Patriots refuse to appear on the stage of Government. For, Kings, Palaces, and Senate-houses do not usually stand long empty and your participation, or not, determines who will occupy the magisterial position.
Too often, when political times are evil and troubled, we hear potential politicians say, as in that deplored time of Judah’s declining-state, in Isaiah 3:7. I will not be a healer, make me not a Ruler of the people.
Consider this, if the Physician will not take the Patient in hand, it is to be feared, the physician thinks the disease too far gone, and his reputation will be in peril if the patient succumbs under his hand.
Indeed, State Physicians, can hardly escape blame, if they do not seek the cure. The multitude judges the Pilot good or bad, based upon whether the voyage he makes is gainful or losing to the Owners.
But I hope you have learned not to judge yourselves by other’s thoughts. No man is made miserable by what others think of him. If you be not willing to give up your own name [reputation] to be sacrificed by the multitude, there is little hope of being a saviour to your Country.
Christ could not have saved man, if He preferred to save His reputation among men. He was willing to do them good, though He was thought and spoken ill of by them for His pains. Do your duty and leave the issue to God.
I confess, that it is a blustering time, but sometimes Mariners find fair weather at sea, even though they launch out in a storm. God has the wind in his fist that sends you to sea, and if a storm meets you in your work, Christ can soon be with you in it, and save you from it.
God is not more seen in sea tempests, than He is in land-storms, confusions, I mean, of course, with States and Nations. He that stills the noise of the seas also stills the tumult of the people, Psalm 65:7.
Well, whatever comes of it, it will be more honorable and safe for you (when called to vote, or run for office) to be found in Parliament, endeavoring to heal the bleeding wounds of the Nation, though it may cost you your good reputation, than saving your own skins at home.
Is it not sad, that a poor woman in travail should die for want of help, because it is midnight when she calls, and her neighbors are loath to break their rests, or come out in the cold to save her life? England [and indeed the USA] is now in travail and call you to her labor. Take heed that the ghost of your ruined Nation does not haunt you to your graves, for your act of denying her your help.
I confess, it is likely to get worse in our nation, because of some unhappy disappointments in former Assemblies. But it is the same with England [as well as the USA], as it is with a woman who has often called her maids just when her pains have gone away. But who knows that now the full time is not come for a birth? Better to go twenty times, when called needlessly than have your place be found empty once, when the work indeed needed to be done.
God, by this Promise (Isaiah 1:26) of giving Judges as at the first, and Counselors as at the beginning, owns this order and state of Magistracy. So, He lays claim to the discarding of persons that bear office, I will restore. This implies, that He had a hand in taking away those holy Governors which ruled them in the first and better times. He did this because of their sins; and He ordered [caused to be voted-in] worse Magistrates in their places, which He did as a plague upon their sins.
And now He will fill the Magistrate’s Seats again, but this time with faithful Judges and Counselors like their first ones.
Magistrates, Good or Bad
Doctrines. Not only the office of Magistracy is of God’s erecting, but the people who are the Magistracy, (whether good or bad) are of God’s appointing.
When the Magistrate’s place is to be filled, everyone lifts up a head for his own faction [party]. And while I wish there were not too much of this, too many come who are motivated to serve a party, or some particular person, rather than God and their Country.
Well, plot what you can, Heaven will carry it from you all. You, with all the bussle [scurrying] and pudder [turmoil] that is made, are but the fly upon the wheel, it is the wheel of Providence, not you, that determines the issue of this day’s voting.
Matches are made in heaven between Magistrates and people.
- When they voted for Christ to die, and Barabbas to live, they only did what God had given their hands to do. Choose well or ill, you cannot deny God His calling voice.
- When the ten tribes made a rent [an exit] from the house of David, it is said in Hosea 8:4. They have set up Kings, and not by me; they have made Princes, and I knew it not; that is, they did not ask God’s permission. Yet God tells them, He gave them these very Kings and Princes, Hosea 13:11.
In both cases above, God’s secret Providence ordered the matter. While the people pleased their own lust, they fulfilled Gods counsel of wrath. Meaning, by their own wicked choice, God plagued them for their sins.
Are Magistrates, whether they be good or bad, sent by God? See how to make a good choice this day when you vote. That good choice is done by plying hard [pleading hard] the throne of grace. If we have faithful Magistrates, they must be of God’s sending, and will restore, and no Key is like prayer to open God’s heart. God rules the world by the lusts of His enemies, and by the prayers of His Saints;
By disappointing the one, and stirring up the other, He accomplishes His own ends in the affairs of the world. The Egyptian’s policies, and Israel’s prayers, helped bring on the ruin of the one and the deliverance of the other. When Israel groaned under the bondage of Pharaoh, the Lord heard their cry, and saved them by the hand of Moses. It was worth their groaning to get such a change, a Moses who carried them tenderly on his shoulder, compared to a Pharaoh who cruelly rode on their backs.
Prayer moves the great wheel of the Clock, that sets all the rest going. Persuade [Trust] God, and He will persuade man.
- Jacob was afraid of Esau, and made God his friend, and God made Esau his [Jacob’s] friend.
- He who would give Saul another spirit, and so altered the property [character] of the man, that before he was aware, Saul, then Paul, rightly prophesied with the Prophets.
This God can alter those purposes which men had in their hearts when they came forth this day to vote and make them Vote for those they had little thought on [considered]. He can make profane ones cast their votes into the lap of those that are godly. In fact, I truly wonder how a faithful, godly Parliamentarian could even be chosen in England [or even the USA], when we see the current heap [unrighteous crowds] who will likely carry the vote, this day.
It has been a custom in former times, for letters to come thick from Court, when Parliaments were to be chosen, to Towns and Hamlets and Cities, which almost had the effect of a Mandamus [ordering you how to vote, much like our political television ads today].
To be sure, God can send into the bosoms of voters His secret messages, which shall awe their consciences, Genesis 31:29. It is in the power of my hand (said Laban to Jacob,) to do you hurt, but the God of your fathers spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take heed. Poor Laban! He thought Jacob’s life was in his power. When the reality is, God had tied his hands behind him, and sealed up his mouth, so he could not speak a word but what God formed for him to say.
Has not God already met some of you, who are on your way to vote? Has He not over-powered your hearts against your former thoughts? If He has not met with you, as you come, so He should bind up your hand from voting for an unworthy person, you may expect to meet Him as you go home, or, perhaps, upon a sadder-errand. Better Cain had met God before he gave the bloody blow, to have stayed his hand from striking it, then afterward to meet Him with that dismal Question, O what have you done?
O it will pierce thy heart like a Dagger, when God shall ask you on another day, “What have you done in giving your vote for such as will help to ruin, not to heal the land? You are the Murderer of your Country, and its blood I will require at your hands.”
Branch 2, The Mercy Promised
The mercy promised: Judges as at the first, and Counselors as at the beginning.
Three Questions may here be propounded:
- Why are Judges and Counselors here promised, and not Kings and Princes?
- Why is the Promise doubled to include both Judges and Counselors?
- And why, Judges as at the first?
Why Judges and Counselors and not Kings and Princes
Because this Promise had a particular respect to a time, when their Government was not to be Monarchical [as it had been], that is, after their return from captivity, when this Promise took place in the times of Nehemiah, Ezra, Zerubbabel, and other faithful Judges, who after them ruled the Jewish State.
Observe, I pray, that it does not matter so much what kind of Government a people live under, as what kind of Governors they have. Let the Government be what it will. The Jews saw happy days under Kingly Government, when the Kings were gracious and wise. Likewise, they experienced happiness under Judges and Counselors, (such as Moses, Joshua, Zerubbabel,) though with less worldly splendor. And they saw miserable days, under both Kings and Judges. The sword of Government cuts, as the hand is that holds it.
Why is the Promise for both Judges and Counselors
I answer, because by this Synecdoche [comparison] the writer includes the entirety of Magistracy. Two things comprise, or complete [make-up] a Government.
- Wisdom to make wholesome Laws, and advice for the good of the People; and
- Faithfulness with courage to execute these Laws.
First, there are Counselors to advise and form Laws. And second, there are Judges to inform and execute these Laws. Counselors without Judges are as a head without a hand; Judges without Counselors, are as a hand without a head.
Why Judges As At the First
I answer, to imply their present degeneracy when compared to when they were first formed into a Commonwealth by Moses, or even afterwards, into a Kingdom led by David. And notice, we see, that the best constituted Governments are prone in time to degenerate. The nearer the Spring, the clearer the water: the farther the stream runs from its first source, the muddier it is and troubled. And indeed, as it is true of States, so it is true of Churches, purest at first planting, like Apples, faire and sound when first plucked from the tree, but in time specked and rotten.
The world we live in is muggish [as overwhelming as extreme humidity] and rancid. And truly, the best things soon decay in it. Hence, it is God who brings revolutions upon Nations and Churches.
Note that one change causes another. First, they change in purity, and then they grow corrupt. Then God changes their peace and prosperity, sometimes even their very form.
But we shall not go down that rabbit trail. Instead we will take up one Conclusion, which arises from the Subject matter of the Promise in general.
Why Faithful Magistrates are a blessing to a Nation.
I will restore Judges as at the first. None of God’s gifts are, gift-less gifts. It is worth having what God thinks is worth promising. When He gives a people faithful Governors, He gives them a mercy that is not of the least magnitude.
Observe on what design God makes this Promise. This speaks to a choice mercy; which is meant to calm their thoughts in light of this expectation of their captivity which would soon be upon them. This also served to make them the more willing to leave their own land, on the account of when they return, they should gain, by all their sufferings, Judges as at the first.
To God, this would be a satisfactory result for their coming losses and troubles. And yet, they understood it is as if He were asking them some great thing, like agreeing to have an arm cut off, or endure some great torment. God gives this Promise, to make them patiently bear the calamities which their long captivity will bring with it, and therefore it is not torment, but rather, a great mercy.
Observe how this is promised, not as a single mercy, but as a mercy that has many others in the womb. It is a mercy representative of all the good He had in His thoughts to bestow upon them.
He shows the Jews, as the choice of his large heart, to best assure them of His love towards them. I will restore Judges as at the first, which is as if He had said, I will restore all manner of blessings into your bosom; Remember, as Magistrates are, so we may expect things will go in a Nation.
There is no one place where we may stand at greater advantage to see what God intends for a people (good or evil) than by observing what Rulers and Governors, His Providence orders out to them.
Without both Religion and Righteousness, Nations are but forests of wild beasts, where the stronger devour the weaker. As the Magistrate is, so are these lifted up or cast down. No sooner here in the text is Religion and Righteousness set down in the Choice of Government, than we find the influence of it among the people, I will restore thy Judges as at the first, then follows, Afterward you shalt be called a City of Righteousness, a faithful City.
The City learns to write [expresses itself], after the manner which the Court sets for her. The Septuagint renders Psalm 24:7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, to read, Lift up the Gates, O ye Princes. The Gate leads the way to the City, and the Magistrate has the command of the Gate, as he opens or shuts the Gate, so is Religion entertained or shut out of a Nation, meaning the public Profession of it.
Therefore, the open idolatry of a Nation is laid by God Himself at the Magistrate’s door, Micah, 1:5. For the transgressions of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the House of Israel. Now mark the next words, What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? That is, what is the Spring [cause] of all this idolatry, and the other abominations of these two Kingdoms? Is it not their two chief Cities, and the Prince’s Courts which are kept there?
Read Scripture’s Stories, and you shall find that Religion flourished and faded among the Jews, as their Magistrates were good or bad.
- When Moses by death let fall his leading staff, and there was a godly Joshua to take it up, it yet went well with Religion.
- When Joshua went off the stage, and there were those faithful Elders left, who shared with him in the Government to hold the helm, Religion was safe.
- But when they were gathered to their fathers, and none were left to come into their place [replace them], then all went to wreck in Church and State, as we find in Judges 2:11. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Balaam.
It goes well or ill with a people, as the Magistrates are. Outward peace and prosperity fares, and opens or shuts, based on the Magistrates. The Queen of Sheba without a Spirit of Prophecy, was able to see happy days coming on the Jews from the piety and wisdom she observed in their Prince, 2 Chronicles 9:8. Because thy God loved Israel to establish them forever, therefore made He thee King over them to do Judgement and Justice.
So the wickedness of the Kings of the ten Tribes, after their rent [exit] from the house of David, is by the Spirit of God interpreted, to proceed from His displeasure and purposes of wrath, that He had taken up against them, to break and ruin them, Hosea 13.11. I gave thee a King in Mine anger and took him away in My wrath. This is spoken (if you observe the place) not of Saul, but of the ten Tribes after their rent from Judah; and not of a particular person, but of the whole succession of Kings from Jeroboam to the last, which resulted in their captivity.
God gave them, because of His wrath, such leaders as were fit instruments to be a plague to them, and execute God’s wrath upon them. And when He took any of them away, it was to make room for a worse one, till by degrees the Nation (as a morsel prepared for a foreign enemy) dropped into the Assyrians mouth, and was devoured by them.
The whole Series of the Jewish Chronicle will confirm that when God intended mercy for them, He gave them faithful Magistrates; when He intended wrath and judgement He opened the door for it, by taking those faithful Magistrates out of the way. Josiah came to the throne in an ill time and found it deep in arrears [indebtedness] to God.
By God’s execution, on account of the abominations of former times, and the current people [nation], not much amended [improved]. They were kept by His royal Sanction, rather than by their own inclination, for it is said, that He gave them the ability to stand to the Covenant.
This implies, that they would soon have fallen to idolatry, and their own ways, had not He, Himself shorn them up [held them up] by His authority. Yet Josiah’s zeal for God and Religion, doing as much as he could, reprieved them, and was their Bail to keep them out of prison, as long as he was above ground; but no sooner had his head laid in the dust, and his wicked children came to the throne, then God called for the nation’s debt, and He would wait no longer.
Are faithful Magistrates such a choice blessing? Then in the fear of God, be serious, and consider the weight of the work of voting, about which from all quarters of this Country you will meet this day. God forbid, that I should think that any of you came with so wicked a mind, as to do this Nation, the place of your Nativity, mischief. Yet, let me tell you, that if you do plan to spite this nation, rather than to bring peace and happiness, I know no better way for you to do that than by choosing unfaithful Counselors.
Part 2: The Voting Instructions
When David meant to curse God’s enemy, to his credit, he wished that God would set a wicked man over himself, Psalm 109:6, as one who would not hesitate to oppress him, and tyrannically lord it over him. Even God puts evil leadership among his dreadful curses, Leviticus 26:17. I will set my face against you, and those that hate you shall reign over you.
I shall now lay three Arguments before you, to persuade you to a conscientious care in your business of voting.
Why We Vote
We Steward for God
Consider that there are great things which you will trust them with, whom you choose to sit in the great Senate of the Nation.
- You trust them with your purse, and I am sure most of you consider that important. You should know him well, to whom you will give the Key of your chest, where your money lies.
- You trust them with your liberties and lives, and those your purses have paid soundly for.
- You trust them with your Religion, without which the others are not worth the taking up.
- In one word, you trust them with all that is dear to you as English men [as Americans], as Christians.
You put that power into their hands, which if they are not the more faithful, may turn like a cannon upon your own breasts, and so you would, most truly, become guilty of your own miseries. And let me tell you, those sorrows have a peculiar bitterness in them above all other, which are not imposed on us, but chosen by us.
Better an enemy should come in and turn us by force of armies, out of possession of these, than we send those who shall Vote us out of them [all that is dear to us]. We shall receive little pity when it is seen that the rod with which we are whipped was of our own gathering [our own voting].
The inward guilt will add a further stinging to our sorrows and deprive us of comforts which, had we done our duty we would have experienced, rather than a great calamity which could now befall us.
He who is an accessory to the burning down of his house, by the negligence of a drunken person, whom he trusted to watch and keep it, has more reason to be troubled, than he who has it consumed by a fire from heaven, or some other Providence.
O voters, men and women, there are matters other than these, which you must also consider and contemplate. For example
- If you were to choose a Nurse for your child, you would look for one of a healthful constitution and good disposition. You are now to choose Nurses for your Nation, so Magistrates are called in Scripture, Nursing Fathers and Mothers; You are to choose these in a time of this Nation’s languishing [deteriorating], under God, to recover the consumptive state of this great body [nation].
- If you were to choose a Shield, should it be one that would let the arrow come through it, to pierce you to the heart? Magistrates are the Shields of the earth. You value the life of the Nation little, who will put a Shield into its hand you have not well tried; David threw away Armor, though it were a King’s, because he had not tried it.
- If you were to choose a Shepherd, or a Herdsman, just anyone would not serve your turn. Pharaoh a King thought it not beneath his care, to get workers for so unimportant a business, Genesis 47:6. If you knowest any man, of activity amongst thy brethren, make them rulers over my cattle. As you vote today, you are to choose such, as are not to go before beasts, but to lead in and out the Lord’s people and flock.
We Speak for God
Consider that your voices and votes are not your own, to bestow them where you list, to gratify this friend, or that party. No, if you do, you give away what is not your own.
- What Jehoshaphat said to his Judges, I may with a little alteration apply to you who are Electors this day, 2 Chronicles 19:6. Take heed what you do, for ye choose not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the choice. He is with you to observe who you give your hand for, and why you give it. When Bishop Latimer heard a pen going behind the hanging, as he was upon examination before the Queens council, it made him more watchful of what he said. And shall not God’s pen, that walks behind the Tent, where you vote, make you conscientious? It is God we are accountable to in this matter of voting. He is the Supreme Lord of Nations; all Magistrates are His under-Officers, and hold their place because of Him, and are to do faithful service for Him.
- Moses was faithful as a servant, Hebrews 3:5. Now, of what dangerous consequence is it for a people, to put one into an office, who is a Traitor to his Prince? This you do, when you vote for an unfaithful person. Magistrates are said to be taken into God’s throne, 2 Chronicles 9:8. Now, do you dare set God’s enemy on God’s throne? What is this, but to set up a Standard against God, and declare to the world you would shake off [reject] His Government.
This day the temper [character] of this Nation will be discovered. No way that I know of is like this, to feel how a nation’s heart pulses, or beats. And for my own part, as this solemn National act shall appear, I cannot look upon [voting] any other way than as our owning or disowning God, to be our God, to rule over us. And if the Nation votes God to be their God, by a godly choice, I shall not bury my hopes for our future happiness.
God comes in mercy many times before He is sent for. But He departs when they give Him leave to go, when they drive Him away. Oh, how unhappy are you, O England [O USA], if you may still have access to your God, but choose to drive Him away.
We Stand for God
Consider the solemn Obligation that lies upon us, by a National Covenant, (famous through the Christian world, and we, infamous for the breach of it) to promote, and procure with our utmost endeavors the Reformation of the Land. [In general, to stand for and support Christian ideals]
If you give your voice for an unworthy person to sit in Parliament, whom your conscience, (if you will listen to it,) will tell you that he or she:
- Is not, nor never will be, a person to help this work.
- Is, in fact, an enemy to Christian Ideals.
- Or, fears them more than desires them.
If you have gotten mastery of your conscience, and still choose to do this bold act, of voting for them, let me tell you what you do; you come this day to declare in the face of all the Country, yea, before God, men, and Angels, that you are a forsworn wretch.
And if you get this brand upon your forehead once, [unwilling to stand for Christian ideals] go where you will, you drag a chain after you that will bind you over to the fearful expectation of God’s wrath. And that fear (for vengeance will come sooner or later) will take hold of you. Now tell me, would it not be better to have been asleep in your bed, or sick in your bed, or dead in your grave, than to have come here to do so unhappy a day’s work?
Oh, think when you go this day to give your vote. See the Covenant of promoting Reformation in the land, spread before you. Dare you venture, to blot out this covenant by a wicked and unworthy choice at the ballot box?
Suppose you should put yourself under an oath of friendship, to promote the good and the welfare of another, (as Jonathan to David) and suppose this friend, to whom you are thus engaged, falls sick, and you have been asked to bring a Physician. But instead, image that you fetch a murderer to poison him, or an imposter who by his ignorance killed him, (which would of course, be the same).
Oh, how would your oath rot upon your conscience? This you do, only you do it to a Nation, not merely a private person.
Therefore, before you vote, spend one more thought on the matter [think one more time about whom you will vote for]. Consider, that you stand at the greatest opportunity of paying your vows, by performing your Covenant to vote this day. Perhaps it may be the most important opportunity you may have in all of your life.
Before the next Parliament comes about, you may be summoned into another world, to give an account of how you bestowed your voice; or if you are still alive, you may see a poor Nation helped to its ruin by your hand, by your vote.
Consider this, the greatest hopes our enemies have is to ruin us by our own Councils. Time was when the plot was to blow up our Parliaments, now they labor to blow us up by our Parliaments; to make our Parliaments blow us up by their destructive Councils. A Nation cannot die a worse death, than to be ruined by their “saviors.”
Who Should Get Your Vote
Question. You may ask, Who is fit for our votes?
Answer: It is a hard Question. Who is fit for such a place, among such a people, and at such a time. I hope you have been asking yourselves, and others, wiser than this Preacher, the same question before you arrived here. It would be impudent for me to undertake a direct answer. Yet I shall not be too bold, if I lay a few lines of Scripture together, which will make up an excellent Portrait of a Parliamentarian, though, I fear, your choices this day may not be as beautiful as you would like.
The face is seldom as fair as the picture. I am sure you will find it impossible to meet with any among the sons of men, whose graces are so orient and unsullied, as to answer the Magistrates face, as it is drawn by the Holy Spirit’s curious pencil in the Word. And therefore, your responsibility is to come as near the pattern, as the imperfections of the best among you will permit.
You may see on a piece of clay, that has been pressed with a curious cut seal, its true stamp, though so ragged, as will tell you, it is a clay seal and not a gold seal. So, there are some among us on whom you may find some of those Magistratical endowments and graces that are engraved by the Spirit of God on the seal of the Word. But as you see their imperfections, it will tell you that they are printed upon frail flesh and blood.
FIRST. Look for the Fear of God in those you choose
This is written with so large a character in Scripture upon the Magistrates forehead, and is so principal a letter in his Name, that it cannot be well spelled without. In Exodus 18:21. Moses bids them provide such men as fear God. And by stamping Authority upon a wicked man, you present the beautiful face of God to the world in, as it were, a broken glass.
Some Kings have commanded, that none should carve his Portraiture in any lesser a metal than gold. And would it not be a pity that God’s Image should be stamped upon a person of base metal? Every ungodly man is no better than base metal, no matter how much their names swell in riches and honors of the world’s style.
Antiochus was called a vile person, Daniel 11:21. The poorest Saint he persecuted was a Star, and he was as vile as dirt, even while he stamped them under his foot of pride.
He who willingly puts a wicked man in place, would, if he could, pull a righteous God out of place.
We need to look for the fear of God in those we choose to be in Government. If for no other reason than that they are so far above the fear of man. If they have not the fear of God to keep them right no wonder if they miscarry [go amiss] in their decisions.
- When Joseph tried to persuade his brothers to honestly deal with him, notice what pawn he gives them, Genesis 42:18 This do, for I fear God. Indeed, his power was so great, that if the fear of God had not been the law of his conscience, and he had them at such advantage, he might have revenged himself upon them for their unkindness, yea, for their cruelty to him.
- The Governors that went before Nehemiah, wanted to do cruelty to him, whereas good Nehemiah himself, had no other cord but this to tie his hands, Nehemiah 5:15. But so did not I, because of the fear of the Lord.
SECOND. Look for Wisdom and proper Gifts
The work to which you choose them, should be work to which they are adept, Exodus 18:21. Provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God. NOTE: All who fear God are not able men. Every godly man does not carry a Counselors head on his shoulders.
There are some who are so holy, that in regard of their Prayers and the Power of godliness in their lives may be said to be “saviors.” And I am sure the Nation would have drowned, had they not helped to hold its chin above water by their praying.
But if they were called to Parliament-work, they might, because of their lack of wisdom and a governing spirit, be in danger of proving destroyers of it. Is it not a pity, that they who do such service to the public in their private capacities should be called from praying for the nation, to ruining it?
Every good Christian could not make a good Minister. The Apostle speaks of a special gift, besides grace in common with others, that belongs to them, they must be apt to teach. So, a Senator must be apt to advise and counsel. Without this all is insufficient, because he lacks that which would enable him to reach the end of his place.
A knife, though it had as a sheath of gold, and a haft of diamond, if it has no edge, is not a good knife. It may be good to sell and make money off, but not to cut.
Look therefore for people of wisdom. You will not ask for a suit or a shoe to be made, merely because the person before you is an honest godly man? No! You desire something of the trade in the man, or else you may be uneasy. But you will say, if they are honest, then honest men will do no hurt. And I would answer you, “Not willingly.”
In a dangerous disease, that medicine which does no good, does hurt, because what might have been given, could have done good. The ills of the Nation at this time are many, and they are complicated, it will require skills as unique as ever sat within those walls to find a remedy. And I am of this judgement, if we must die, let it be under the hand of the ablest Physicians, for therein we shall be least accessory to our own ruin.
THIRD. Enquire whether they are Christians
Are they Christians? Are they found in the faith, for this is doubly important.
The care of keeping a Religion pure in a Nation, is part of the Christian Magistrate’s charge, and not the least part. The Kings of Israel were commanded to keep the Book of the Law by them that they might learn to fear the Lord, and keep all the words of this Law, Deuteronomy 17:18. which was not meant only personally (that was to be the endeavor of every private Israelite) but as a Ruler to see the Law of God kept, and the true Religion there commanded, preserved in their Kingdom.
Hence, we find those Kings sharply reproved [criticized], who either set up, or connived on behalf of idolatry in their reign. And those commended, who removed the Monuments of idolatry, and restored the Worship of God to its purity.
Thus, we find of Hezekiah, the most famous Reformer of them all. A large testimony is given by God to him, for his zeal to restore the nation. That he cleaved to the Lord, and kept His Commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. And truly, if it were the Magistrates work then, it continues to be so now. Unless, of course, if we can find where Christ minimized their power in matters of Religion, which He has not done.
There is no danger, said that Reverend Author, to allow the Magistrate now as much power, as God then approved of. Well, is Religion the Magistrate’s care? Then for the Lord’s sake, and Religion’s sake, do not choose such as are corrupt and rotten in their principles, unless you have a mind to spread the infection presently over the whole Land. The plague of this spiritual leprosy is spreading too fast already in the body of the Nations [around us]. God keep it from among our Rulers, if it takes the head once, we may then pronounce the whole Land unclean.
Consider for a moment at what door our ruin is likely to come in upon us. Truly, it is easier to foretell this, then it is to shut it [fix it]. They say of the Hectic Fever, at first it is easily cured, but hardly known; afterward easily known, then hardly cured. The evils which now threaten us most, might with more facility have been at first prevented, could they have been as easily known. But now, they have a strength, which, though they are easily known, they are hard to cure.
Many of those errors, which at first appeared as innocent things, grow now more formidable. Indeed, it is observed that when diseases, such as Pox, Purples and Malignant Fevers, abound, it is a sign that the plague is not far off. Their malignity is soon heightened to a Pestilence.
FOURTH. Look for Courage and Resoluteness
There are some who may be blown like glasses, into any shape, with the flattering or threatening breath of others. Not all men and women are born to rule. It is well if they will follow, but never expect that they will lead on in a time of danger.
A coward cannot be a good Christian; much less a good Magistrate. Such a one will be won with a nut, and lost with an apple. Solomon’s throne of ivory was supported by Lions. Innocence and integrity cannot be preserved in Magistracy without courage.
It was base fear which made Pilate cruel to Christ, to save his sorry stake which he had in Caesars hand. The man had no mind to shed innocent blood, therefore he sought how he might release him, but when he heard the Jews cry out, If you let this man go, you are not Caesar’s friend, the very wind of this bullet killed that man’s heart, and made him steer a totally contrary course, John 19:12-13. When Pilate therefore heard that, he brought Jesus forth and sat in the judgment seat, and basely proceeded to an unrighteous sentence against his conscience.
Magistrates are great blessings, if they dare do their conscience. Choose those who will dare to be righteous, I just wish we were wise enough to distinguish between a humble boldness in a good cause, and a proud stoutness in any cause, be it right or wrong.
The courage, which is of the right metal, is like steel, it will bend, and stand bent. Some, however, will, if they are once challenged, bend and bow into partiality.
FIFTH. Find Purposeful Focus on the Nation’s Public Affairs
It is said of Job, he put on Righteousness, and it clothed him. He could as easily have forgotten to put on his cloths in a morning and therefore do his work as an unrighteous Magistrate. It would be a sad thing if we should vote-in one, who when they are chosen, should sleep out their time in the Country, or socialize their time away in the City, not caring whether the Nation sinks or swims.
Non-residence is as bad in a Magistrate, as in a Minister, they are God’s Ministers, as well as Preachers are. So says Paul, Romans 13:6. For they are Gods Ministers attending continually upon this very thing. Where should the tradesman be but in his shop? And where should a Parliamentarian be, but where his or her work lies, in the houses of congress.
They are not worthy of honor, who are weary of the labor, which goes with the Office. The faithful Magistrate is said to bear the burden of the people; Exodus 18:22. Away then those who will shift all the burden off themselves onto other’s shoulders. And who will hear themselves applauded at the ballot box but will not likely carry the burden of their Country’s affaires. Neither in their head, nor heart, have they ears to hear the cry of the oppressed, when they come to them for relief.
SIXTH. Choose those who have Healing spirits
They should make it their study, to make up the breaches that are among us, and not make them wider. Though the war is over, and swords are put up, yet the minds of men have not come to their right temper; the fever is hardly quenched in men’s spirits, which must be, before all is well. As long as embers are kept burning in the bosom, there is danger of breaking out into a flame.
Suppose a man is shot with a bullet, he may be cured of his wound, yet die of a fever his wound put him into. If you can find any who have more compassion towards this divided Nation than others, those are the people fit for such a time as this.
He is the surgeon, who has not only a Lyon’s heart, but a Lady’s hand, to dress the wounds of the Nation gently. We are like a person who has lain in bed so long, and grown so weak, that the same strong medicine which might have cured him at first, would now kill him out of hand.
SEVENTH. Look for a Desire to Serve
I do not desire you to vote based upon this single characteristic alone but take it into consideration with the rest. To choose merely for estate, is too much like the Israelites folly, who set up a golden calf in Moses’ place.
So, do not let anyone, receive any prejudice from you because they are enameled with riches, and dwell in a great house.
It is noted as a sign of a declining State, when the money, and coin of a Nation become worthless. Often it is seen in the metal being less pure, or less weighty. Additionally, for gold, and silver, there is substituted brass, lead, or leather. This too has sometimes been seen.
The Spirit of God compares Magistrates to one of the purest of metals, silver. And surely, it shows that a people are going down the hill of honor, when the places of Magistracy that used to be filled with the chief heads of the Country, come to be despicable folks of lowest character.
Thanks be to God, there are a few good folks to be found, who are able to do God, and their Country, service.
FINALLY. Find those Faithful to Ministers and the Ministry of the Gospel
I confess, I was under a temptation to have drowned this in silence, knowing with what disadvantage [stumbling block, for you may find me self-serving] I shall speak on this subject. Many will think me but selfish in this, and only too kind to my own Tribe; but to know that, you must be content to wait for the great day, when the world shall know, why I speak for, and others against the Ministry. I am not therefore afraid or ashamed to press this again.
Look for leaders who will be faithful friends to the Ministry. It hath been resolved long since in the evil one’s mind, that the surest and speediest way to cheat England [and the USA] of her Religion, and Gospel, is to divide the people from their Ministers. That still holds true in ungodly men’s minds.
The enemies of the gospel by their rigorous endeavor, peruse this one thing, hence there are so many bitter invectives printed against the faithful Ministers of Christ, their Persons, and Office. There are railing Rabshekahs [who distort the minister’s words] sent about the Land, to throw dirt upon the Minister’s face, and to turn the hearts of the children from their spiritual Fathers, by making them out to be base and filthy to their hearers. And have they not prevailed? Look at how many thousands [millions] in the Land are made Proselytes to the agenda focused [on removing ministers from a position of influence in their congregant’s lives].
Can you think him worthy of the Magistrate’s seat, who would not allow you a Minister in the Pulpit? Oh, my brethren, know the Ministry has the same Authority to show for their calling as the Magistrate has. The same God, who gave Moses, gave Aaron. It is said that He led his people by the hands of Moses and Aaron. The same hand that planted one Olive-tree, on the one side of the bowl, Zerubbabel the Magistrate, planted Joshua, the Minister, on the other, and both were given to drop their oil, to feed the same lamp of God’s Church.
The great blessings have been given by a concurrence of both, as we see in Reformations of the Jewish Church under several Kings. I have heard that when Queen Elizabeth, coming into our County of Suffolk, observed that the Leaders of the County, who came out to meet her, had every one their Minister by their side, she said, “Now I have learned why my County of Suffolk is so well governed, it is because the Magistrates and Ministers go together.” Indeed, they are the two legs on which a Church and State stand. He that would saw off the one, cannot mean well to the other.
An Anti-ministerial spirit is an Anti-magistratical spirit. The Pulpit guards the throne. Take that away, and you give the Magistrate’s enemy’s room to fetch a full blow at them. The Duke of Somerset in King Edward VI days, by consenting to his brother’s death, made way for his own, by the same axe and hand.
What Occurs After We Vote
I have no more counsel for you, as to the transaction of this day, namely voting. But my dear friends, do not think that you have done all your duty to God and your afflicted Country by simply voting. But labor to crown the work of this day with the following things.
Follow those you shall choose with your prayers. Our Lord Jesus, when He sent His disciples to sea, went into a mountain to pray for them. He knew a storm was coming toward them, and they would need His help; Truly, you send these leaders, whoever they shall be, to sea.
And God grant it may not be a winter-voyage.
Oh, help them to as much strength as you can for their work, and there is no strength gotten like that which is gotten from Heaven.
Indeed, the whole success of that great Assembly must begin there. The Lord has made both the hearing ear and the seeing eye, Proverbs 20:12. Neither of these can be spared if this Parliament is to end well. They must have a seeing eye, to see what counsel and advice is both wholesome and seasonable. And the people must have a hearing ear, to submit to the Laws there concluded.
Take heed that you do not obstruct your prayers for them. Not for them, nor for their counsels, or for you or for the poor Nation by you having unconfessed sin. Go home, repent, and reform, and that in earnest, or else all your praying will be a waste.
If your sins get between your prayers and God, he cannot hear your prayers.
If you do not reform and deal with unconfessed sin, lay no fault on the Parliament, though no good comes of their meeting. A careless Patient disgraces a good Physician.
Samuel’s counsel to Israel shall be mine to you with the change of a word; Fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart, for consider how great things He hath done for you, but if you continue still to do wickedly, you shall be consumed, you and your Parliament.
In doing your duty, do not torment yourselves with worry. God has eased us of this burden, had we but faith to take His kindness, who bids us cast our burden upon the Lord. Why should we go sweating under that load, which God is willing to take off our shoulders?
We should sow and plough and pray. And God will never charge it upon us, if a happy harvest does not crown our labors.
In the Parable of the man fallen among thieves and wounded, the Host was not commanded by Christ to undertake to cure him, but to take care of him. Leave the curing of the Nation’s wounds to God.
You will be a happy people if you are found to have taken so much care of your poor Nation, as to discharge the duty of your place, namely, today’s voting, which you owe to God and your Nation.