Imatges de pÓgina
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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 Delgas of his Peoples Ruin, empty themselves in their own Confusion.

Guilt has been legible in their Countenances, by the pre- and thro the Infatuation of their Counsels, nal Asocia- they have served the * Interest they design'd tion, which to overthrow. And as the Lord turn'd the ned by the Heart of the King of Asyria unto the Jews, late confpi- to strengthen their Hands in the Work of

the House of God, Ezra 6.22. so he does frequently turn the Counsels of his Enemies to the Service of his Church ; and their Policies are so baffled by the Spirit of wisdom, that they meet with nothing but Disappointment, and Shame. As in Herod's Plot against the Life of our Lord, who fearing that

he would rival him in his Throne, forms a Design to murder him. And altho Herod was a Man of very great Craft and Subtilty, yet in this Conspiracy his Sagacity seems to be revers'd; (according to that of the Prophet, Isa. 44.25. He turneth Wise-men backward, and maketh their Knowledg Foolishness) and he acts dire&ly repugnant to all the celebrated Maxims of Policy ; for altho he knew that the Wise-men had seen Christ's Star in the East, and were going to worship him, yet he never thinks of sending his Guards with them, or going himself in a

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Religious Disguise, which according to Human Probability might have effe&ually 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 perdiligently 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 say from Susa in Perfia, 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 wife Men Mat. 2. 12. were warn’d of God in a Dream that they fhould not return to Herod, and that accordo ingly 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 Mother, 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.

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2.

As in the Plot against David; Achitophel, like a politick Minister of State, gave very proper Advice (humanly speaking) to Absalom to

bring about the Alamination of his Father: 1 Sam. 17,1, For Achitophel said unto Absalom, Let me nord

choose out twelve thousand Men, and I will arise 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 bim, I know not; sure I am they met with no better Success.

But to proceed; Notwithstanding the seeming Rationality of Achitophel's Advice, Absalom 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 Deligns 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

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 Jews, in defeating that execrable Conspiracy that was formed a. gainst them by Haman, who was prime Mi. nister of State under Ahasuerus ; and being affronted by Mordecai the Few in that he refu.

Esth. 3. 2; sed to do him Reverence, was resolv'd to revenge it not only on him, but upon the Fews 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 Jews 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 faid, That in the first 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 Month, to the twelfth Month, that is the Month 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, caft Pur for a lucky Day to begin his bloody Work upon, which happened upon the 13th Day of the 12th Month, which is cal

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led Adar; which according to modern Compu-
tation 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 In-
stance 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, left the King should fcruple to sign
the Warrant for the Massacre, since by so do-
ing 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 Privy-
Seal, shows his A&ivity; 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 Jews both young and old,
little Children and Women, in one day, &c.
and this Order was disperft into every Pro-
vince by a swift Post.

And that those to whom this Order came,

might do the work the more effe&tually, they As were are promised to have the Spoil for a * Prey,

that they might be the more severe, and that Rrizn.

their

Ver. 12.

the Irish in the Late

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