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Hab.3.18. Verse 18 Yet will I rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my faluation.
19. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like Hinds feet, and he will make me to walk upon my high places. To the chief finger upon my ftringed Instruments.
threatned, though they shall fall upon it, and it must needs fuffer this sharp Vifitation. Yet will I rejoyce in the Lord. It is the Apoftles counfell, Rejoyce in the Lord alwayes: and here the Church doth fo: the Apostle refumeth it again, I fay and the Church here resumeth it. I will joy in the God rejoyce: of my falvation fhewing the reafon and ground of her joy, which is Gods falvation. My heart shall rejoyce in thy falvation.
The Lord God is my strength.] they are the words of David, and he is more full and Rhetoricall in the expreffure thereof. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
2. The Lord is my rock, and my fortreffe, my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust,my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
David fpeaks like one in love with God, for he doth adorn him with confeffion of praife, and his mouth is filled with the praife of the Lord, which he expreffeth in this exuberancy and redundance of holy Oratory: the Church addeth.
He will make my feet like hinds feet.] this alfo is borrowed of David, in the fame Pfalme.
Hë maketh my feet like hinds feet, and fetteth me upon my high places: that is, he doth give fwiftneffe and speed to his Church; as St. Auguftine interpreteth it, transcendendo fpinofa, & ambrofa implicamenta hujus faculi: paffing lightly through the thornie and fhadie incumberances of this world. He will make me walk upon my high places.
David faith: he fetteth me upon my high places."
For, confider David, as he then was, when he composed
His is the laft part of this Pfalme, it endeth in confolati
this Pfalm, it was at the time when God had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. For then God fet his feet on high places, fetting his Kingdome, and establishing him in the place of Saul.
The Church here hoping to obtein of God the like deliverance by faith, apprehendeth the fame mercy and favour of God, that God will again restore them to their high places, and establish them in the fame; that is, in the free and undifturbed poffeffion of their own land, and the liberties thereof. Ifaiah 58.14. Thofe are called high places, because God was Deut.32. exalted in them, in the profeffion of Religion, and God exal- 13. ted them above all other places of the world by his fpeciall favour, as it is faid, Non fecit taliter.
St. Augustine goeth higher in the myfticall surveigh of thefe words, and looketh up to the future glory of the Church, faying,
Super Coeleftem habitationem figet intentionem meam, ut impleat in omnem plenitudinem Dei.
The laft words of the Pfalm,are a dedication thereof, to the ufe of the Church, dedicating it to the chief finger, to be fitted to the Church mufique, that it may be fung in the congregation.
The words are taken from Davids Pfalmes, and applyed to Doct.1. this perticular occafion of the Church. From whence we are taught, what ufe we may make of Davids Pfalms in our frequent reading and meditation of them.
Our Church hath divided the Pfalms into fo many equall portions for our reading, that in every thirty days, fuch as can read, may read over the whole book of Davids Pfalmes, and it is no great task for every one of us, fo to read them over privately in our houses: the benefit is great that will redound to them, that fhall do this, for this will our experience finde, that St. Augustine long ago hath teftified of the book of Pfalms, that it is, Communis quidam bone doctrine thefaurus, a common ftore-houfe of good learning: it will instruct the ignorant, it will draw on forward thofe that are incipients, it will perfect Bbbb thofe
those that are proficients,it will comfort all forts of afflictions, veteribus animarum vulneribus novit mederi, & recentibus remedium applicare, it knows how, &c.
He that would pray to God, may make choice here of fit forms dictated by the Spirit of God, to petition God upon all occafions, whatsoever he would defire of God, either to give him, or to forgive him.
He that would make confeffion of his fins to God, is here furnished & accommodated with the manner of searching and ripping up of the confcience, and laying the hid man of the heart open before God.
He that would make confeffion of praife, hath his mouth filled with forms of praise,to fet forth the goodness of God,either in perticular to himself, or in general, to thewhole Church.
He that is merry, and rejoyceth in the Lord, may finde here the mufique of true joy, and may from hence gather both matter and manner of Jubilation: you fee that the Church in my text reforteth to this store house of comfort.
He that findeth himself dul and heavy in the duties of Gods fervice, may here finde cheerfull ftrains of mufique to quicken his dead affections, and to put life into them.
Many are too well conceited of their own fufficiency for those holy services of God, fo that in confeffion of fins, in prayer or in prayfing God,they over-ween their own measure of the fpirit of God, and are too much wedded to their own forms of addreffe to God.
But let no man despise these helps, the best of us all need them,& the most able amongst us fhal abate nothing from his own fufficiency, to borrow of them, we are fure that the Holy Ghoft hath indited them and if a wife judgment do make choice and fit application of them to our feverall purposes, and occafions, we cannot more holily or more effectually expreffe our felves then in them,the fweet finger of Ifrael hath furnished us plentifully by them
2 Before I come to handle the text in the parts thereof, let me return your thoughts to the former verfe, where the
Church putteth her own cafe in great affliction, fuppofing the good land flowing with milk and hony, touched and accurfed for their fakes, so that neither their best fruit trees, nor their common fields, nor their fruits, nor their flocks,and herds fhal: yield encrease, yet faith fhe: Tet will I rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my falvation.
Teaching us that where there is the true joy of the Holy Doct.2. Ghoft, no temporall affliction whatsoever, though it extend even to deprivation of the neceffaries of life, can either extinguifh or fo much as eclipse that joy, but that as a light it will Thine in darknesse.
The Book of God is thick fown with examples and promifes, with doctrine and ufe, with affertions and experience of this truth, and it is fo fealed to the perpetuall confolation of the Church of God, that when Chrift left his fheep among Wolves, faying: In the world you shall have affliction. He left the Holy Ghoft in his Church in the office, and under the name and title of a comforter: to affure this.
David gives a good reafon hereof, for he knoweth whereof Reaf. 1. we be made, he remembreth we are but duft.
Indeed we are made of such stuffe, and by our fin, we have fo marred our own first making,that if God did not fupport us in afflictions, with a strong supply of faith, wee fhould foon fink under the burthen of our own infirmities.
David confeffeth as much.
I had fainted,unleffe I had believed to fee the goodnesse of the Lord Pfal.27.13 in the land of the living.
Bleffed be God that miniftreth ever fome comfort to fweeten the calamities of life, and to keep the foul from fainting, to keep the head above water, that the deep waters fwallow
us not up.
The true Church of God, when the ambition of the Bishop of Rome, to be univerfall Bishop began to fway Religion to the fervice of humane policy, then began to lofe of her full numbers, many of them, moft of them defecting to popery and fuperftition: the true profeffors of the Gospel were purfued Bbbb 2
with all kinds of bloudy perfecution, and in many years, the true Church of God lived in concealment, yet God did never fuffer this little remaining fpark to be quite put out, and when the Pope thought himself abfolute Lord of all, then arose Martin Luther, an arrrow out of their own quiver, and in the low ebbe of the true Church, he opposed the Pope, and put a new life into the true Christian Church, which ever fince his time hath grown to a cleerer light, and the man of fin is more and more revealed, and the mystery of ungodlineffe detected, and in many parts of Christendome, the Pope ejected, as an ufurper both in Ecclefiafticall Hierarchy, and temporall Sovereignty.
At this time, this poor Church doth fuffer perfecution in France, and is threatned with utter extirpation.
In Bohemia, the Proteftants feel the uttermoft of extremity: the Prince Palatine, and the Kings Children remain under proscription, and in exile from their inheritance, and their country invaded and depopulated doth groan under the fury of war, Religion is oppreffed: the fig-tree, and the vine, and olive fail, the earth is not husbanded to profit, to feed the inhabitants: In this extremity, what comfort furviveth but this? that our God, the husband of his Church will not chide continually, nor referve his anger from generation to generation, but even in this extremity of diftreffe, we have joy in his favour, and love to his Church.
This holy care of Religion now affaulted, and the naturall care that our loyall allegiance to our Sovereign and his children doth lay upon us, inciteth us to joyn, as one man with u nited strength to work for God and his truth to the uttermoft of our beft abilities, and who knoweth whether God having crowned our land, so many years with peace and truth, doth now try us what we will do for Religion and peace, and how forward we will be in his caufe, and how charitably compaffionate of the afflictions of our brethren abroad: wherein, if we fhall acquite our felves like the children of light, and the fons of peace, we may prevent a further tryall of us neerer hand in our own land. Bleffed