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sees and other Jews, that did not come to the help of the Lord, at the time that the great Son of David appeared to set up his kingdom in the world, whom Christ condemns, that they had not understanding of those times, Luke xii. 56. "Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth; but how is it, that ye do not discern these times?" So it always will be, when Christ remarkably appears on earth, on a design of setting up his kingdom here, there will be many that will not understand the times, nor what Israel ought to do, and so will not come to turn about the kingdom to David.
The favorable notice that God will take of such as appear to promote the work of God, at such a time as this, may also be argued from such a very particular notice being taken in the sacred records, of those that helped in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, upon the return from the Babylonish captivity, Nehem. iii.
Obligations of rulers, ministers, and all sorts, to promote this work.
AT such a time as this, when God is setting his King on his holy hill of Zion, or establishing his dominion, or showing forth his regal glory from thence, he expects that his visible people, without exception, should openly appear to acknowledge him in such a work, and bow before him, and join with him. But especially does he expect this of civil rulers: God's eye is especially upon them, to see how they behave themselves on such an occasion. If a new king comes to the throne, when he comes from abroad, and enters into his kingdom, and makes his solemn entry into the
royal city, it is expected that all sorts should acknowledge him; but above all others is it expected that the great men and public officers of the nation should then make their appearance, and attend on their sovereign, with suitable congratulations, and manifestations of respect and loyalty if such as these stand at a distance, at such a time, it will be much more taken notice of, and will awaken the prince's jealousy and displeasure much more, than such a behavior in the common people. And thus it is, when that eternal Son of God, and heir of the world, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice, whom his Father has appointed to be King of kings, comes as it were from afar, and in the spiritual tokens of his presence, enters into the royal city Zion; God has his eye at such a time, especially upon those princes, nobles, and judges of the earth, spoken of, Prov. viii. 16., to see how they behave themselves, whether they bow to him, that he has made the head of all principality and power. This is evident by Psalm ii. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12. "Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree; the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings, be instructed ye judges of the earth; serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling; kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little." There seems to be in the words an allusion to a new king's coming to the throne, and making his solemn entry into the royal city; (as Zion was the royal city in Israel;) when it is expected that all, especially men in public office and authority, should manifest their loyalty by some open and visible token of respect, by the way, as he passes along; and those that refuse or neglect it are in danger of being immediately struck down, and perishing from the way, by which the king goes in solemn procession.
The day wherein God does in an eminent manner send forth the rod of Christ's strength out of Zion, that he may
rule in the midst of his enemies, the day of his power wherein his people shall be made willing, is also eminently a day of his wrath, especially to such rulers as oppose him, or will not bow to him; a day wherein he "shall strike through kings, and fill the places with the dead bodies, and wound the heads over many countries." Psalm cx. And thus it is, that when the Son of God girds his sword upon his thigh, with his glory and his majesty, and in his majesty rides prosperously, because of truth, meekness, and righteousness, his right hand teaches him terrible things. It was the princes of Succoth especially, that suffered punishment, when the inhabitants of that city refused to come to the help of the Lord, when Gideon was pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna; we read that Gideon took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness, and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. It is especially taken notice of that the rulers and chief men of Israel, were called upon to assist in the affair of bringing up the ark of God; they were chiefly consulted, and were principal in the management of the affair. 1 Chron. xiii. 1. "And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader." And xv. 35. "So David and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom, with joy." So 2 Sam. vi. 1. And so it was when the ark was brought into the temple, 1 Kings viii. 1, 3. and 2 Chron. v. 2, 4.
And as rulers, by neglecting their duty at such a time, will especially expose themselves to God's great displeasure, so by fully acknowledging God in such a work, and by cheerfully and vigorously exerting themselves to promote it, they will especially be in the way of receiving peculiar honors and rewards at God's hands. It is noted of the princes of Israel, that they especially appeared to honor God with their princely offering, on occasion of the setting up the tabernacle of God in the congregation of Israel (which I have observed already
was done at the time of the feast of tabernacles, and was a type of the tabernacle of God's being with men, and his dwelling with men in the latter days). And with what abundant particularity is it noted of each prince how much he offered to God on that occasion, for their everlasting honor, in Num. vii.? And so with how much favor and honor does the Spirit of God take notice of those princes in Israel that came to the help of the Lord in the war against Sisera? Judg. v. 9. "My heart is towards the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people." And v. 14. "Out of Machir came down governors." v, 15. "And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah." And in the account that we have of the rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, in Nehem. iii., it is particularly noted what a hand one and another of the rulers had in this affair; we have an account that such a part of the wall was repaired by the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, and such a part by the ruler of the other half part of Jerusalem, and such a part by the ruler of part of Beth-haccerem, and such a part by the ruler of part of Mizpah, and such a part by the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, and such a part by the ruler of Mizpah, v. 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19. And there it is particularly noted of the rulers of one of the cities, that they put not their necks to the work of the Lord, though the common people did; and they are stigmatized for it in the sacred records, to their everlasting reproach, v. 5. "And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of the Lord." So the Spirit of God, with special honor, takes notice of princes and rulers of several tribes, that assisted in bringing up the ark, Psalm lxviii. 27.
And I humbly desire that it may be considered whether we have not reason to fear that God is provoked with this land, that no more notice has been taken of this glorious work of the Lord, that has been lately carried on, by the civil authority; that there has no more been done by them, as a public acknowledgment of God in this work, and no more
improvement of their authority to promote it, either by appointing a day of public thanksgiving to God, for so unspeakable a mercy, or a day of fasting and prayer, to humble ourselves before God, for our past deadness and unprofitableness under the means of grace, and to seek the continuance and increase of the tokens of his presence; or so much as to enter upon any public consultation, what should be done to advance the present revival of religion, and great reformation that is begun in the land. Is there not danger that such a behavior, at such a time, will be interpreted by God, as a denial of Christ? If but a new governor comes into a province, how much is there done, especially by those that are in authority, to put honor upon him, to arise, and appear publicly, and go forth to meet him, to address and congratųlate him, and with great expense to attend upon him, and aid him? If the authority of the province, on such an occasion, should all sit still, and say and do nothing, and take no notice of the arrival of their new governor, would there not be danger of its being interpreted by him, and his prince that sent him, as a denial of his authority, or a refusing to receive him, and honor him as their governor? And shall the head of the angels, and Lord of the universe, come down from heaven, in so wonderful a manner, into the land, and shall all stand at a distance, and be silent and inactive on such an occasion? I would humbly recommend it to our rulers, to consider whether God does not say to them, be wise now ye rulers, be instructed ye judges of New England; kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.
It is prophesied, Zech. xii. S., that in the glorious day of the Christian church, the house of David, or the rulers in God's Israel, shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord, before his people. But how can such rulers expect to have any share in this glorious promise, that do not so much as openly acknowledge God in the work of that Spirit, by which the glory of that day is to be accomplished? The