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thunder and lightning, but garlands of triumphant bays shall preserve them; they shall be trodden into the earth with scorns and contempts, but yet as seed is buried, to multiply to more. So far this word of our translators assists our devotion, Thou shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt make me insensible of it, or thou shalt make me victorious in it.

But the original word tzur hath a more peculiar sense ; it signifies a strait, a narrowness, a difficulty, a distress; I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan, says David”, in this word, when he lamented his irremediable, his irrecoverable death. So is it also, Pangs have taken hold of me, as the pangs of a woman that traraileth". And so the words grow to signify, Aciem gladii, Thou hast turned the edge of the sword, and to signify the top and precipice of a rock; he clave the rocks in the wilderness 24. So that the word expresses angustiam, narrowness, pressure, precipitation, inextricableness, in a word, (that will best fit us) perplexity; and, the Lord shall preserve me from perplexity; and this may the church, and this may every good soul comfort itself in, thou shalt preserce me from perplexity.

Consider it first in the church, and then in ourselves; and first in the primitive, and then in the reformed church. When God had brought his church, ex abscondito, from his hiding place, from poverty, and contempt, and solitariness, and glorified it in the eyes of the world, by many royal endowments and possessions, with which princes (then become Christians) and other great persons, piously and graciously invested her, though these were temptations to aspire to greater, yet God preserved her from perplexities of all kinds ; from perplexing of princes with her claims, that they might not marry, nor make leagues, nor levy armies, but by her permission. The church called nothing her own, but that which God had called his, and given her, that is, tythes : all the rest, she acknowledged to have received from the bounty of pious benefactors. This was her plea, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my strength, and my buckler, and my high tower25. In all this inventory, in all this armoury, and furniture of the church, there is never a sword: rocks, and fortresses,

22 Isaialı xxi. 3.

21 2 Sam. i. 26.

24 Psalm i. 26.

23 Psalm Lxxxix. 43. 25 Psalm xvii. 2.

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and bucklers, and towers, but no sword, no material sword in the church's hand; Arma nostra preces et fletus**; The church fought with nothing but prayers and tears. And as God delivered her from these perplexities, from perplexing the affairs of princes with her interest in their government: so he delivered her from any perplexities in her own government. No usurpation, no offer of any prince that attempted to invade or violate the true right of the church, no practice of any heretics, how subtile, how potent soever, though they equalled, though they exceeded the church in number, and in power (as at some times the Arians did) ever brought the church to a perplexity, or to an apprehension of any necessity, of yielding to sacrilegious princes, or to irreligious heretics in any point, to procure their peace, or to enjoy their rest, but still they kept the dignity of priesthood entire, and still they kept the truth of the Christian religion entire ; no perplexity how they should subsist if they were so stiff, ever brought them

less to any prevarications, or modifications, either in matter of religion towards heretics, or in the execution of their religious function towards sacrilegious usurpers. So God preserved the primitive church from perplexity; she was ever thankful and submissive towards her benefactors; she was ever erect and constant against usurpers. And this preservation from perplexity, we consider in the reformed church also.

When the fulness of time was come, and that church which lay in the bowels of the putative church, the specious church, the Roman church, that is, those souls which groaned and panted after a reformation, were enabled by God to effect it; when the iniquity of Babylon was come to that height, that whereas at first they took of alms, afterwards Monachi emunt et nobiles vendunta7, Monks bought, and lords sold, nay monasteries bought, and the crown sold ; when they went so far, as to forge a donation of Constantine, by which they laid hold upon a great temporal state, and after that so much further, as to renounce the donation of Constantine, by which, for a long time, the Roman church claimed all their temporal state, St. Peter's patrimony, and so, at last came to say, that all the states of all Christian princes are held of the church, and really may be, and actually

26 Ambrose.

27 Hieron. Ep. ad Demetr.

are forfeited to her, and may, at her pleasure, be re-assumed by her; when for the art and science of divinity itself, they had buried it in the darkness of the school, and wrapped up that that should save our souls, in those perplexed and inextricable clouds of school-divinity, and their school-divinity subject to such changes, as that a Jesuit professes, that in the compass but of thirty years, since Gregory de Valentia wrote, Vere dici possit, novam quodammodo theologiam prognatam esse", We may truly say, that we have a new art of divinity risen amongst us ; The divinity of these times, says he, is not in our church the same that it was thirty years since; since all parts of the Christian church were so incensed, both with their heresy, and their tyranny, as that the Greek church, which generally they would make the world believe, is absolutely as they are, is by some of their own authors a' confessed to be more averse from them, and more bitter against them, than Luther or Calvin ; since upon all these provocations, God was pleased to bring this church, the reformed church, not only to light, but to splendour, he hath preserved this church from perplexities. If they say, we are perplexed with differences of opinions amougst ourselves, let this satisfy them, that we do agree all, in all fundamental things : and that in things much nearer the foundation, than those in which our differences lie, they differ amongst themselves, with more acrimony and bitterness, than we do. If they think to perplex us with the fathers, we are ready to join that issue with them; where the fathers speak unanimously, dogmatically, in matters of faith, we are content to be tried by the fathers. If they think to perplex us with councils, we will go as far as they in the old ones, and as far as they for meeting in new councils, if they may be fully, that is, royally, imperially called, and equally proceeded in, and the resolutions grow and gathered there upon debatements, upon the place, and not brought thither upon commandment from Rome. If there be no way but force and arms, if they will admit no trial but that, God be blessed that keeps us from the necessity, but God be blessed also that he preserves us from perlexity, or not being able to defend his cause, if he call us to that trial. And therefore let them never call it a perplexity in us, let them never say that we know not what to do, when we acknowledge the church of Rome to be truly a church: for the pest-house is a house, and theirs is such a church; but the pesthouse is not the best air to live in, nor the Roman church the best church to die in. Thou hast preserved me from perplexities, may the primitive church say, and so may the reformed too, and so also may every particular soul say, which is a consideration, that from the beginning we proposed for every part, and are now come to it in this.

28 Tanner. in Aquin. p. 1. ad Lector. 29 Stenartius Ep. Dedic. ante Calecam.

When we were upon this consideration in our former part, we showed you, that no over-tender or timorous soul, might hide itself in a retired life, from the offices of society, but though every particular age bring a new sin with it, every complexion a new sin, every occupation a new sin, every friend a new sin, that must be loved for his sake, yet para te foro, thou art bound to come abroad, and trust upon God's hiding thee there from temptations, and so assure thyself that he will preserve thee from perplexities. Now, we consider in the school, perplexities, which are such only by misunderstanding; and perplexities, which are such in the true nature of the thing. Those of the first kind, perplexities in a misunderstanding, should fall upon no man ; perplexities of the second kind, in the nature of the thing itself, can fall upon no man. Of the first kind, this is an example, a man swears to conceal all his friend's secrets, and he tells him of a treasonable purpose against the state ; either way he must offend; against his oath if he reveal it, or against his allegiance, if he do not. This is no perplexity; for in a right understanding he must know, that such an oath binds not. Of the second kind there was an example in Origen, who must, by the commandment of the persecutor, either offer sacrifice to an idol, or prostitute his body to an abominable abuse with another man. Which should he do? Neither. God gives a man an issue in such cases, by death; Et vitam potius finire debet quam maculare30, He is bound to give his life, rather than to stain his life. This timorous soul then fears where no fear is. He would hide himself, he is loath to come into the world, because he thinks he must needs sin. He needs not. Is there a necessity laid upon him, that he must die as rich as the richest of his profession, and that he cannot do without sin? That he must leave his wife such a jointure, and his children such portions, and all that he cannot do without sin? first, all that he may do without sin : we have seen in all professions honest men die as rich, as dishonest. If thou do not, he that hath said, There is no man that hath left wife or children for my sake, but shall have a hundred fold here, and everlasting life”, (which is a blessed codicil to a will that was abundant before) will also say, there is no man that hath left wife and children poor for my sake, but I will enlarge my providence upon them even in this life, and my glory in the next: and this was our second part, considered in the church and in ourselves, Thou shalt preserve, &c.

30 Augustine.

There remains yet a third part, that as God hides us from temptations, that they reach us not; or preserves us from intricacies, and perplexities, so that they hurt us not; so if they do, yet he compasses us with a joyful deliverance, (as our former) or with songs of deliverance, as this translation hath it, that is, imprints in us a holy certitude, a fair assurance, that he will never forsake us; and this voice we may hear from the church first, and then from every particular soul ; for, to both, (as we have told you all the way) do all the parts of this psalm appertain.

As it is an exaltation of God's indignation, when he is said to compass by way of siege, (so Jerusalem complains, He hath builded against me, he hath compassed me with gall and travail, he hath kedged me about, that I cannot get out; so God threatens, I will camp against thee round about, and I will lay siege against thee *3) for this intimates such a displeasure of God, as that he does not only leave us succourless, joyless, comfortless in ourselves, but cuts off those supplies which might relieve us; he compasses us, he besieges us, he camps round about us, that no relief can enter ; so when his love and mercy is expressed in this phrase, that he compasses us, it signifies both an entire mercy, that no enemy shall break in in any part, whilst he doth compass us, and a permanent and durablo mercy, that as no force of the enemy, so no weariness in himself, shall make him discontinue his watches, or his guard over us, but that he will compass us still.

31 Mark x. 29.

32 Lament. iii. 5.

33 Isaiah xxxix. 3.

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